The Diversified School Campus: Ethnic Diversity, School Violence, and Academic Achievement
Posted: 29 Mar 2010
The representative democracy literature investigating the effects of ethnic diversity on educational performance has put forth conflicting messages. Some suggest that increased minority teacher representation boosts minority students' academic achievement, while others point to negligible effects of representative democracy on students. The present study takes on school violence and drug use beyond the academic achievement arena in order to address whether or not and how ethnic diversity determines the degree of school violence and drug use. The data were taken from over 1,000 K-12 schools in southern and northern California. The results show that ethnic diversity tends to increase the frequency of student suspension related to violence and drug use, which in turn increases the frequency of student expulsion. However, changes in school violence and drug use have little to do with the actual increase of minority students and teachers in school, implying that racial fractionalization, rather than representative democracy, is behind the rise of school violence and drug use. Expectedly, the prevalence of student suspension and expulsion was inversely tied with school-level academic achievement. These results seem to have important implications for the discussion of ethnic diversity, re-segregation, and cultural education in American schools.
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