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Journal Article: THE AMERICAN SCHOOL DILEMMA: Race and Scholastic Performance

Journal Article » THE AMERICAN SCHOOL DILEMMA: Race and Scholastic Performance


EDUCATION -- United States, AFRICAN American students, EDUCATIONAL tests & measurements, AFRICAN American schools, MINORITIES, SEGREGATION, DISCRIMINATION in education, UNITED States, EDUCATION—GENERAL


Bankston Iii, Carl L.; Caldas, Stephen J.


1997, Summer97


The article examines the question of how racial composition of schools affects educational outcomes of minority children in the United States. The article adds that if African American students show better performance in predominantly white or racially mixed schools, and if this cannot be accounted for by socioeconomic or other factors, it supports a traditional assimilationist perspective on African American education. One of the key issues in minority-majority relations is the issue of assimilation versus the cultivation of minority group distinctiveness. Although the education of minority youth in America has traditionally been assimilationist in character, some recent critics have questioned assimilation as a goal for the education of African Americans. The article addresses this issue by looking at how race and the racial composition of schools are related to academic achievement. The study uses data from Louisiana's Graduation Exit Examination, an achievement test administered to all public high school students in the state. It finds that there is a substantial gap between the test scores of white and African American students which exists even when one controls various indicators of students' involvement with school, family socioeconomic level, family structure, and school racial composition.