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The Carrot or the Stick for School Desegregation Policy

The Carrot or the Stick for School Desegregation Policy: Magnet Schools or Forced Busing

Copyright Date: 1990
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    The Carrot or the Stick for School Desegregation Policy
    Book Description:

    "An in-depth, carefully researched analysis.... The book is particularly useful for public policymakers, school administrators, and faculty and for graduate students in educational policy studies." --Choice This is the first study comparing the long-term effectiveness of voluntary desegregation plans with magnet programs to mandatory reassignment plans. In a survey of school personnel and parents in 119 school districts, Christine H. Rossell finds that the voluntary plans with incentives (magnets) ultimately produce more interracial exposure than the mandatory plans. Her conclusion contradicts three decades of research that judged mandatory reassignment plans more effective than voluntary plans in desegregating schools. Rossell examines the evolution of school desegregation and addresses a number of issues with regard to public policy. She questions how to measure the effectiveness of school desegregation remedies, suggesting interracial exposure as a criterion because it reflects the white flight that threatens to minimize the effects of such programs. She analyzes the characteristics of magnet schools that are attractive to white and black parents and the effect of magnet schools on the quality of education. The magnet plans studied here are qualitatively different from the old freedom-of-choice plans implemented in the South and majority-to-minority plans implemented in the North in the 1950s and 1960s. Rossell compares this public choice model of policy-making with previous mandatory efforts and examines court decisions that indicate a growing belief in the effectiveness of voluntary compliance for achieving school desegregation. "A significant achievement.... Assembling the most comprehensive data base and the most persuasive analysis to date on relative effectiveness of voluntary versus mandatory desegregation plans, Rossell concludes not only that mandatory desegregation techniques cause long-term white flight, but also that the white loss is large enough to render 'mandatory magnet' plans less effective than 'voluntary magnet' plans." --Contemporary Sociology "A very well-written analysis of...a topic of major policy policy researchers, educational policy-makers, lawyers and judges, sociologists, and members of the sophisticated public involved in school desegregation matters." --Jeffrey A. Raffel, University of Delaware

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0356-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  4. 1 The Past and the Future of School Desegregation Remedies
    (pp. 1-28)

    From the perspective of black Americans, the 1980s must appear to be a time of retrenchment and lack of momentum—even of loss of some hard-won gains of the 1960s. The civil rights conviction of the 1960s that “we shall overcome” has become in the minds of many “we shall hold our own.”

    The most obvious cause of this perception is the Reagan administration’s conservative policies on welfare and civil rights. But even before Ronald Reagan was elected, there was a feeling among blacks, intellectuals, and others that in the wake of “forced busing” and affirmative action, the civil rights...

  5. 2 Defining School Desegregation and Its Goal
    (pp. 29-40)

    The courts have proceeded incrementally in defining school desegregation. In 1954 school desegregation was simply the elimination of discrimination. Indeed, 15 years elapsed before there was any change in that legal concept.

    By contrast, as early as 1964 the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) issued affirmative school desegregation guidelines for complying with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. These guidelines suggested specific yearly changes in the proportion of blacks attending white schools. OCR’s measure of remaining segregation was the proportion of black students in schools with enrollments greater than 90 percent black....

  6. 3 A Comparison of Voluntary and Mandatory Desegregation Plans
    (pp. 41-110)

    This chapter describes the magnet school plans of 20 school districts and compares the desegregation effectiveness of the two types of magnet plans, voluntary and mandatory. The sample was selected from a larger 119-school-district sample in order to update an earlier Abt Associates study of 18 school districts (Royster, Baltzell, and Simmons, 1979), which remains one of the best comparative analyses of magnet school desegregation plans. Royster et al. and I concluded in separate 1979 studies that mandatory desegregation plans with magnet schools were more successful desegregation tools than voluntary plans with magnet schools. These analyses, unfortunately, included only one...

  7. 4 What Is Attractive About Magnet Schools?
    (pp. 111-146)

    An important assumption of the public choice model of school desegregation policy is that citizens are capable of making programmatic choices among schools. If money is poured into magnet schools that are also given special themes or curricula, parents will compare the resources of that school with those of their neighborhood school and other schools. On that assumption, school districts with magnet schools prepare elaborate, detailed booklets, leaflets, and newsletters with enticing descriptions of their magnet programs.

    Milwaukee, for example, mails a 12-page newsletter to parents. The Montessori program in two schools, Greenfield and MacDowell, accepts children between the ages...

  8. 5 What Have School Desegregation Plans Accomplished?
    (pp. 147-182)

    One of the more important issues concerning desegregation remedies has been their “reasonableness.” The public perception of the behavior of the Warren Court and the federal courts in the early 1970s on school desegregation issues has been that they were “out of control,” imposing extreme and radical remedies on an intransigent population. The reality, however, appears to be quite different. AlthoughSwann(1971) held that school desegregation remedies could be “administratively awkward, inconvenient, and even bizarre in some situations,” they usually were not.¹ Pairing and clustering may cause white flight, but they are not unreasonable per se. The courts have...

  9. 6 Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 183-216)

    The issue of which model of policymaking—the “command and control” model or the “public choice” model—is more relevant to school desegregation is part of an ongoing philosophical debate among intellectuals. The debate focuses on the nature and causes of the reaction of white Americans to the mandatory reassignment, or “forced busing,” of white children to black schools and the legitimacy of providing incentives for socially desirable behavior on “moral” issues.

    White reaction to “forced busing” can be understood within the context of two major conflicts involving desegregation and the legal status of black Americans (see also Taylor, 1986)....

  10. Notes
    (pp. 217-228)
  11. References
    (pp. 229-242)
  12. Index
    (pp. 243-258)
  13. Index of Court Cases
    (pp. 259-260)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 261-261)