My School District Isn’t Segregated: Experimental Evidence on the Effect of Information on Parental Preferences Regarding School Segregation

Marissa E. Thompson, Sam Trejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

U.S. public schools are increasingly segregated by income, resulting in substantial educational inequality among U.S. schoolchildren. We conducted a nationally representative survey to explore the relationship between parental beliefs about and preferences regarding school segregation. Using experimental manipulation, we tested if learning about levels of school segregation in their local school district affects a parent’s attitudes and preferences regarding school segregation. In doing so, our study helps elucidate whether disagreement with respect to segregation-reducing policies stems from differences in parental beliefs about the extent of segregation in their district or from differences in parental preferences given existing levels of segregation. We found that parents hold largely inaccurate beliefs about local segregation levels and underestimate, on average, the economic segregation in their district. However, information treatments that correct inaccurate beliefs do little to influence support for policies to reduce segregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-119
Number of pages23
JournalSociology of Education
Volume97
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • class inequality
  • policy-oriented research
  • poverty and education
  • school policy
  • segregation

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