ERIC Number: ED230657
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982
Reference Count: 0
The Influence of Catholic Schools on the Desegregation of Public School Systems: A Case Study of White Flight in Boston.
Hannon, James T.
White flight from public schools to avoid desegregation can result in educational and residential resegregation, defeating the purpose of desegregation efforts. One form of white flight is pupil transfer to private schools, which in most metropolitan areas are predominantly Catholic. Unlike residential relocation, transfers to Catholic schools constitute less permanent loss to the public school system than that caused by relocation. However, empty seats in area Catholic schools pose a threat to the success of any desegregation program. Hence, the issue of white flight creates a complex conflict of interests for the Catholic diocese, torn between institutional self-interest and competing claims to moral principles and Church teachings. A study of the effects of desegregation efforts in Boston, Massachusetts, schools shows that approximately 2,000 students, accounting for 20 percent of the white students, transferred to Catholic schools from the public system. An analysis of political and institutional constraints on policy development and implementation provides a basis for predicting future response by the Church to desegregation programs. Church members and officials who desire a supportive and consistent desegregation policy must confront head on the problems outlined above. At the national level, the Church must both strive for transfer policies which restrict white flight from desegregated public schools, and accelerate efforts to increase minority enrollment in Catholic schools. (AOS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.; Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Center for Demography and Ecology.
Identifiers: Massachusetts (Boston)
Note: Research was conducted as part of a national study of public school desegregation directed by Dr. Karl E. Taeuber.