A Rand Corp. researcher says a new study showing that court-ordered integration in inner-city schools has led to widespread "white flight" across the nation backs up his prediction that white school enrollment in Los Angeles will plummet when an integration program begins next month.
The Rand study, to be presented Sept. 7 at an American Sociological Association meeting in San Francisco, looked at 54 school districts with enrollments of at least 20,000 students.
The report by David Armor, a social scientist at the privately run "think tank," was based on birth rates and white out-migration statistics before and after integration programs were instituted in the 54 districts.
"The strongest effects were found in 19 cities that had over 20 percent minorities and available suburbs," Armor said. Effects were weaker in districts including entire counties, making relocation more difficult, he said!
He found that in all of the 19 cities except Springhill, Mass., the actual drop in white enrollment in the first year of integration was at least 2 1/2 times as great as the projected drop.
An earlier study by Armor forecast upheavel in Los Angeles enrollments when its integration plan begins, but another social scientist cautions it would be a mistake to generalize the results of the nationwide study to Los Angeles.
"The social composition and housing market in Los Angeles are very different from most of the districts that were studied," said Gary Orfield of the University of Illinois.