The Role of Integrated Schooling in the Development of Social Cohesion in Multiethnic, Just, Democratic Societies

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 46
Oral Presentation
Roslyn MICKELSON , Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Schools play a crucial role in preparing children for their adult responsibilities as workers,parents, friends, neighbors, and citizens. Increasingly, in the US and other multiethnic democratic nations this responsibility is complicated by the growing demographic diversity among students, a diversity fueled by international migration. The central argument of this paper is that integrated schooling is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition for developing the social cohesion that just, multiethnic democratic societies require to flourish.  Using the United States as a strategic case study, the paper synthesizes the US educational, social, and behavioral science literatures on the effects of school and classroom racial, ethnic, and social class composition on short- and long-term academic and nonacademic outcomes across the life course, with special attention paid to immigrant youth. The preponderance of the extant US literature on the topic links integrated schooling to improved academic and non-academic outcomes, and suggests integrated schooling is also a necessary, though, insufficient enabling condition for fostering civic engagement in multiethnic democratic societies. Ironically, despite this growing corpus of evidence, US schools are resegregating by race, ethnicity, and/or social class. To be sure, because of international and internal migration trends, the nature of US school segregation has changed so that today it is much more ethnically complex than the Black-White or Brown-White binaries of the past. Nonetheless, studies indicate that today, as in the past, schools with concentrations of poor disadvantaged minority students generally fail to educate their students. The paper discusses the implications of its findings for 21st century education in the US and other multiethnic democratic societies (especially OECD nations) facing the opportunities and challenges that demographic diversity and international migration pose for delivering educational excellence and equity to all students.