White Flight & Political Retreat

White Flight & Political Retreat

Charging that desegregation of schools causes “white flight,” the neoconservatives have now joined the fight against large-scale integration of big-city school systems. The signal for the attack was James S. Coleman’s recent repudiation of his findings that had for some 12 years served as the main factual and analytical underpinning of the prointegration argument.

In 1966 Coleman, a sociologist then at Johns Hopkins University and now at the University of Chicago, directed a massive congressionally ordered study to determine how the education of minority children is affected by segregation and integration. The study’s voluminous report, Equality of Educational Opportunity, was accepted by most judges and educational administrators as the most authoritative documentation of the subject available.

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