Historical Perspectives on Racial Differences in Schooling in the United States
53 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2003 Last revised: 3 Nov 2010
Date Written: June 2003
African-Americans entered the post-Civil War era with extremely low levels of exposure to schooling. Relying primarily on micro-level census data, we describe racial differences in literacy rates, school attendance, years of educational attainment, age-in-grade distributions, spending per pupil, and returns to literacy since emancipation, with emphasis on the pre-1960 period. The overwhelming theme is one of educational convergence, despite overt discrimination for much of the period studied, and subject to several qualifications. We interpret this theme in light of a simple model of educational attainment.
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