Ending to What End? The Impact of the Termination of Court Desegregation Orders on Patterns of Residential Choice and High-School Completion

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Ending to What End? The Impact of the Termination of Court Desegregation Orders on Patterns of Residential Choice and High-School Completion

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Title: Ending to What End? The Impact of the Termination of Court Desegregation Orders on Patterns of Residential Choice and High-School Completion
Author: Liebowitz, David
Citation: Liebowitz, David. 2015. Ending to What End? The Impact of the Termination of Court Desegregation Orders on Patterns of Residential Choice and High-School Completion. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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Abstract: The essays in this thesis examine the impact of the termination of court desegregation orders on patterns of residential choice and high-school completion. I do this by first examining decisions individual households make about where to live in the aftermath of a change in student-assignment policy using evidence from a single school district. Then, I generalize and assess trends in patterns of residential segregation and high-school dropout rates in a national study.

In the first essay, my co-author and I examine whether the legal decision to end race-conscious student assignment policies in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district increased the probability that families with children enrolled in the district would move to neighborhoods with a greater proportion of student residents of the same race as their own children. We make use of a natural policy experiment—a judicial decision to end court-ordered busing—to estimate the causal impacts of this policy shift on household residential decisions. We find that, for those who moved, the legal decision made white families with children in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools substantially more likely than they were during desegregation to move to a neighborhood with a greater proportion of white residents than their own neighborhood.

In the second essay, I assess the impacts of the end of court desegregation orders on a comprehensive national sample of districts under court order in 1991. In a series of analyses, I conclude that the release of these districts from court desegregation orders increased the rates of black-white and, even more conclusively, Hispanic-white residential segregation. Furthermore, the declaration of districts as unitary increased rates of 16-19 year-old school dropouts in these districts by three to seven percentage points for Hispanics, one to two percentage points for blacks, and almost four percentage points for blacks living in school districts outside the South.

Taken together, these findings suggest that barring the use of race in the assignment of students to schools has deleterious effects on black and Hispanic students and the communities in which they reside.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:23519637
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