Methods: This study is a retrospective secondary data analysis of the survey “Race, Ethnicity, and Education” survey conducted by the Institute on Race and Ethnicity at the University of Arkansas LR in 2018. Data were used to examine racial attitudes related to education focusing on the Little Rock School District. The survey sample included 1,859 adults who were residing in Pulaski County, Arkansas. Stratified sampling was used to ensure an oversampling of individuals who identified as Black. For the purposes of the current study, the sample was further reduced to include only those individuals who identified as Black (n=808) or white (non-Hispanic; n = 870).
Results: A series of Crosstabulations with Chi-Square and Spearman’s Rho Correlations were employed. Findings showed significantly more Black people believed racial socialization was important as compared to whites (p<.01). Significantly less Black people believe children have equal educational access as compared to whites (p<.01). Significantly more people who believe children do not have equal educational access also believe racial socialization is important (p<.05). Individuals who believe racial socialization is not important also give public schools failing grades (p<.01). Interestingly, people who believe the impact of historical events at Central High School were positive for race relations believe children have equal educational access (p<.01). Significantly less Black people believe school integration is beneficial as compared to whites (p<.01). Significantly more Black people believe the events at Central High School continue to impact race relations as compared to whites (p<.01). Significantly less Black people believe in locally controlled school districts as compared to whites (p.<.05) Significantly more Blacks gave public schools passing grades, while whites gave public schools failing grades (p£.01). The opposite was true for Black people with significantly more Blacks giving failing grades to private schools (p£.01) and passing grades to charter schools (p£.01).
Conclusion: As hypothesized, significant associations between race and educational opportunities in Little Rock were found. Unequal access and race relations continue to be pressing topics in Little Rock where residents continue to be segregated and harmed by past policy decisions. Further research is needed to ascertain if these attitudes and perceptions permeate school districts across the country where schools have been historically segregated.