Dr. Wayne Santoro
Participation year
Project title

Racial Disparities in Education: The Impact of Black Political Power


Political science literature has shown that black politicians help make governments more responsive to blacks across such dimensions as equal employment, fair housing, and reductions in police brutality. To date, however, little research has investigated the impact of black official in reducing racial inequality in education. This is unfortunate given that blacks have long struggled for educational equality and because education serves as a main vehicle for upward mobility (e.g., employment). In this research, I examine whether black elected officials reduce disparities at the cit level in black and white high school drop out rates. After controlling for racial disparities in family structure (income and female-headed households), economic constraint, and geographical location, I find that black council members help reduce racial gaps in high school drop out rates. This finding shows that despite the numerous constraints black policymakers face when attempting to reduce racial inequality, black elected officials can make a difference.

Tonya  Isom
Southern University A and M College