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Journal Article

School Choice, Charter Schools, and White Flight

Social Problems
Vol. 52, No. 3 (August 2005), pp. 398-418
DOI: 10.1525/sp.2005.52.3.398
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Page Count: 21
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School Choice, Charter Schools, and White Flight
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The “choice” movement of the 1990s culminated in a proliferation of charter schools. However, school choice and charter school options may have future consequences for racial segregation given the potential for white flight similar to that which occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. Drawing from racial competition theory, this article contributes to literature on education and stratification in a broader sense by examining white enrollment in charter schools and its possible consequences for racial segregation. Data are drawn from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), the Common Core of Data (CCD), and a unique dataset on district academic quality. Analyses suggest that relatively even distributions of white and nonwhite students within districts and corresponding competitive pressures spur white charter school enrollment. We suggest that such racial competition within the educational arena may indeed be bolstering the “return to school segregation.”

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