School Choice and Racial Bias

One article I looked at in the journal “Sociology ¬†of Education” examined how racial bias intersected with school choice. They conducted a survey that asked white parents if they would send their children to the hypothetical schools described in the survey. There were several independent variables in the described schools including the ratio of white to black students, security presence, academic rating, and the state of facilities. Then respondents were asked if they believed whites and blacks to be equal on a number of factors such as criminality and intelligence.

What the results showed was that race played a significant role in whether or not the family chose a particular school, even when controlled for all other factors. White favorability dropped by around 30% when the hypothetical school became 65-80 percent black for those who stated that black and whites were equal and 50% for those who stated that blacks and whites were not equal. The other factor white parents were unusually responsive to was a security presence. Generally speaking it is a useful study because it quantifies unstated biases. It is also important because often times discussions about school segregation deemphasize personal biases. It is also important due to increasing presence of school choice due to the rise of charter schools.

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