Can Democratizing Educational Opportunities Reduce School Segregation?
Jeremy Fiel

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Arizona

Primary Discipline

What underlying forces drive contemporary school segregation, and how can policymakers address segregation and related inequalities in the current political climate? This project seeks answers to both questions, using comparative interrupted time series analyses to examine the unintended effects of automatic admissions policies (AAPs; e.g., the Texas Top Ten Percent Plan) at the college level on racial segregation at the high school level. One possibility is that segregation is partly driven by unequal competition for school-based educational opportunities. If so, changing the distribution of opportunities across schools may alter sorting processes in ways that exacerbate or ameliorate segregation. Because AAPs redistribute college admissions slots in an egalitarian way that weakens the link between high school racial composition and perceived opportunities, AAPs may reduce segregation. This could, however, reduce the intended benefits of AAPs on diversity in postsecondary admissions. Alternatively, segregation may be driven more by efforts to maintain racial and ethnic boundaries, in which case redistributive policies like AAPs may not reduce segregation. They could, however, provide avenues to reduce racial disparities in school-based opportunities despite segregation. This project hopes to adjudicate among these hypotheses to further our understanding of segregation and our ability to address racial/ethnic inequality through policy.
About Jeremy Fiel
Jeremy E. Fiel is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona. He was a high school science teacher and coach before earning his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Jeremy?s research uses quantitative methods and sociological theory to examine stratification processes, mostly related to racial/ethnic segregation and intergenerational educational stratification. He is particularly interested in exploring the causes and consequences of contemporary school segregation.

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