Equity & Diversity

Segregation of Latino Students From White Peers Increased Over a Generation, Study Finds

By Christina A. Samuels — July 30, 2019 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In 1998, the average Latino elementary school student attended a school where 40 percent of her classmates were white.

But by 2015, the average young Latino student was attending a school with a student body of only 30 percent white students, demonstrating an increased level of ethnic segregation, according to a new analysis of student data. One factor is the growing share of Latino students among the elementary-school population, the study notes.

The isolation of Latinos is particularly high in large urban districts, said Bruce Fuller, a sociologist from the University of California Berkeley and a co-author of the study. In 1998, 7 percent of the average Latino child’s classmates were white in big-city districts, and by 2010 that had dropped to 5 percent.

At the same time, Fuller said, the study showed the diversity among Latino children, who today make up more than a quarter of the 35.5 million children in public elementary school. For example, Latino children whose mothers were born in the United States also attended less racially and ethnically segregated schools than Latino children whose mothers were foreign-born.

And the study showed that poor and middle income children are more likely to attend school together, irrespective of race. The average elementary student from a low-income family in 2015 attended a school where about 50 percent of peers were middle income. In 1998, that average poor child attended a school where only 40 percent of peers were middle income.

The findings, a collaboration between researchers from Berkeley; the University of Maryland; and the University of California Irvine were published Tuesday in the journal Educational Researcher.

This study did not compare integration of Latino students with integration of black students over the same time frame. However, other researchers, using different analytical tools, have looked at that question and found that white students and Latino students attend the most segregated schools. The Civil Rights Project at UCLA found that white students, on average, attend a school in which 69 percent of the students are white, and Latino students attend a school in which 55 percent of the students are Latino. Black students attend schools that average 47 percent black enrollment, and Asian students attend schools that average 24 percent Asian enrollment.

Decades of research have shown that when low-income children attend school with middle-income students, the children from low-income families have higher test scores, are more likely to attend college, and less likely to drop out. With that in mind, Fuller said, school leaders could do more to balance race and ethnicity within schools, using tools such as magnet schools, dual-language immersion programs, and redrawing school boundaries with socioeconomic diversity in mind.

“There are some devices that I think are being deployed with some success tend to counteract segegration,” Fuller said.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Reported Essay What the Indian Caste System Taught Me About Racism in American Schools
Born and raised in India, reporter Eesha Pendharkar isn’t convinced that America’s anti-racist efforts are enough to make students of color feel like they belong.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Reported Essay Our Student Homeless Numbers Are Staggering. Schools Can Be a Bridge to a Solution
The pandemic has only made the student homelessness situation more volatile. Schools don’t have to go it alone.
5 min read
Conceptual illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity How Have the Debates Over Critical Race Theory Affected You? Share Your Story
We want to hear how new constraints on teaching about racism have affected your schools.
1 min read
Illustrations.
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Educational Equity Descends Into Educational Nihilism
Schools need to buckle down to engage and educate kids—not lower (or eliminate) expectations in the name of “equity.”
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty