District Segregation, Race Legislation, and Black Enrollment in Charter Schools


  • *Direct correspondence to Linda Renzulli, University of Georgia, Department of Sociology, Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602 〈renzulli@uga.edu〉. I thank Lorraine Evans for her help with the data collection, and Elizabeth Stearns, Jeremy Reynolds, and Ian Conlon for their comments on earlier drafts. This research was supported by a grant from the American Education Research Association, which receives funds for its “AERA Grants Program” from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Educational Research and Improvements under NSF Grant REC-9980573. Opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the granting agencies.


Objective. This article examines how segregation at the school level within districts and charter school legislation predict black enrollment levels at local charter schools.

Methods. This study uses the Schools and Staffing Survey Charter School Data 1999–2000, Common Core of Data, and a unique data set of district test scores to estimate OLS regression models of black enrollment in charter schools on district racial segregation and race provisions in charter school legislation.

Results. Findings suggest that segregated school districts, those districts where whites and blacks are more unevenly distributed among schools, have a larger percentage of blacks enrolled in local charter schools than districts where schools are integrated. In addition, charter schools in states that do not have a racial clause have a smaller percent of blacks in their charter schools.

Conclusion. Findings suggest that black enrollment in charter schools is a function of district segregation and state policy.