Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science


On June 30, 2007, after much dissension the United States Supreme Court came to a final decision that public schools are not allowed to use a student’s race or ethnicity as the primary factor in assigning students to particular schools. This ruling comes at a time when there are high levels of residential segregation that are producing resegregated schools. Residential segregation is not only creating racial resegregation, but also a consolidation of poverty. Forty-three percent of African American and Hispanic students attend schools with poverty rates over 80 percent, compared to just 4 percent of Caucasian students (McArdle, Osypuk, and Acevedo-Garcia 2010, 1). Disparities that derive from socioeconomic and racial segregation in schools have expanded the achievement gap, African American and Hispanics students consistently perform at lower levels than Caucasian counterparts. Students below the poverty level have also fallen behind peers of higher economic levels.

The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of socioeconomics and race on student test achievement in Fulton County School District. Acknowledging the effects of socioeconomic and racial segregation on academic success for students will provide a greater understanding and promote awareness in the inequalities that occur in education. Variance calculations were used to test the significance of socioeconomics and race on academic achievement of fifth grade students in Fulton County School District. The research revealed that while the majority of the students met the reading and mathematics assessment requirements on the Criterion Reference Competency Test (CRCT) there were large variations among the races and socioeconomic levels present in Fulton County School District. The results of the various analysis support previous research findings that students of lower socioeconomic levels and certain minority races, mainly African American and Hispanic, perform at a lower level on standardized test, such as the CRCT. Recommendations to address these issues are to provide economically integrated schools through public school choice and restore low scoring schools with the creation of magnet schools.

This study concludes that inequality in education is obvious not only in local governments and states but also in the nation as a whole. It is important that more studies are conducted, so that educators, public administrators, and policymakers become compelled to promote equality in schools and insure all students excel so they can succeed in an increasingly diverse and ever-changing world.