Desegregation and Impact Aid: Does Military Presence Influence School Composition?

Posted: 11 Nov 2020

Date Written: September 24, 2020


In 1948 President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which called for complete integration of the armed forces and created the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces. It wasn’t until President Eisenhower’s administration that attacks began on the issue of military children attending segregated schools. Since education falls under state jurisdiction, as long as the schools serving military students were the responsibility of the local education agency (LEA), they were subject to state practices, including segregation. Using the language found in Public Laws 815 and 874, U.S. Commissioner of Education Earl J. McGrath created what were termed “Section 6” schools—schools located on military installations expressly to serve military connected children residing on federal property. In many cases, these Section 6 schools were the first integrated schools in their respective states. This paper will look at black/white dissimilarity and black isolation indices in the late 1980s and early 1990s to determine if the presence of these Section 6 schools had a lasting impact on school districts in the south. To determine if the effects found are long-lasting, a more recent data set was constructed. The data concludes that for the 1988 data set LEAs containing Section 6 schools (going forward known at DODEA Americas) and those receiving Impact Aid funds are not significantly correlated with the dissimilarity index but is both significant and negatively correlated with the black isolation index. Further, for the 2015 data set reveals that the presence of DODEA Americas schools are significantly correlated with the dissimilarity index, though with mixed results. The correlations found in the 1988 data set continues in the 2015 data set when the outcome is the black isolation index.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Chantal, Desegregation and Impact Aid: Does Military Presence Influence School Composition? (September 24, 2020). Available at SSRN:

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