School Desegregation and Achievement
Yohanan Eshel Zev Klein
The issue of integration and achievement has been dealt with in a large number of review articles. The common denominator among all these is an attempt to reach some form of definitive statement about the effects of desegregation on achievement that fairly summarizes all the available material. Unfortunately, different reviewers, utilizing almost identical data, often reach quite different conclusions.
In attempting to reconcile these differences, we decided to discuss the issue in the form of a question and answer dialogue between "A" and "B". Hopefully, this dialogue will point to alternative and perhaps more useful ways of both defining issues and developing solutions.
A: It seems that from the moment school desegregation became a public, political issue, the promise that the academic achievement of the desegregated minority would improve was assumed.1 I find this causal linkage problematic. It is not only a question of whether or not there is a theoretical basis for the assumption-- something I address shortly--but also, why the imperative? Whether the issue is building a better, more cohesive society, or doing away with prejudice and mistrust, or providing a more equitable distribution of status and privileges, we do not need to justify them through an attempt to raise IQ scores or school grades.2 In fact, if these are the goals, one could make a case that one of the least effective ways for attaining them is through the schools. Certainly, enough has been written and said about the bureaucracy and conservatism of the public____________________
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Publication information: Book title: School Desegregation:Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Contributors: Yehuda Amir - Editor, Shlomo Sharan - Editor, Rachel Ben-Ari - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1984. Page number: 133.