Science & Tech

Religious private schools most segregated in U.S.

1 min read

Never before been a major report on private school segregation based on comprehensive national data

Black-white segregation is greater among private schools than among public schools, according to a research report from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. Although 78 percent of the private school students in the nation were white in 1997-98, the average black private school student was enrolled in a school that was only 34 percent white. For comparison, among public schools, 64 percent of students were white and the average black public school student attended a school that was 33 percent white. Black-white segregation is greatest among Catholic schools. Black Catholic school students attend schools that are, on average, 31 percent white; black students in non-Catholic religious schools attend schools that average 35 percent white; and black students in secular private schools attend schools that average 41 percent white. The report was based upon data supplied by the federal government’s most recent “Private School Survey,” which covers the 1997-98 school year. The survey, first initiated in 1993, has an extremely high response rate from the nation’s private schools. Black-white private school segregation is much greater among private schools in large metropolitan areas than in smaller metropolitan areas and rural areas.