The paper aims to show how and to what extent the system of compulsory education in Milan is affected by social and ethnic segregation. We argue that, despite being guided by the general criteria of universal access and equality of treatment, not only do Milan’s schools fail to counter socio-economic inequalities and differentiation along ethnic lines in an effective manner, but they actually tend to amplify and entrench them. We begin with a theoretical discussion of the main factors contributing to school segregation and a general overview of Italy’s compulsory education system. This is followed by a presentation of the empirical case of Milan, analysing social and ethnic segregation of children of primary school age (i.e. 6–10 years) by place of residence and school of enrolment. As a clear gap emerges between the ‘natural’ and the ‘actual’ school composition, our analytical focus then shifts to home-to-school mobility as an expression of parental choice. We show that 56% of all students in Milan do not enrol at local state schools and this is due to two main phenomena: families choosing private schools and families moving within the state school system. The analysis of these movements makes it possible to identify avoidance dynamics (i.e., in which disadvantaged or ethnic areas are avoided), as well as incoming mobility towards private schools and state schools located in affluent areas or with a lower intake of pupils of non-Italian ethnic backgrounds.

‘White flight’ in Milan: School segregation as a result of home-to-school mobility

A. Parma;C. Ranci;M. Cordini
2019-01-01

Abstract

The paper aims to show how and to what extent the system of compulsory education in Milan is affected by social and ethnic segregation. We argue that, despite being guided by the general criteria of universal access and equality of treatment, not only do Milan’s schools fail to counter socio-economic inequalities and differentiation along ethnic lines in an effective manner, but they actually tend to amplify and entrench them. We begin with a theoretical discussion of the main factors contributing to school segregation and a general overview of Italy’s compulsory education system. This is followed by a presentation of the empirical case of Milan, analysing social and ethnic segregation of children of primary school age (i.e. 6–10 years) by place of residence and school of enrolment. As a clear gap emerges between the ‘natural’ and the ‘actual’ school composition, our analytical focus then shifts to home-to-school mobility as an expression of parental choice. We show that 56% of all students in Milan do not enrol at local state schools and this is due to two main phenomena: families choosing private schools and families moving within the state school system. The analysis of these movements makes it possible to identify avoidance dynamics (i.e., in which disadvantaged or ethnic areas are avoided), as well as incoming mobility towards private schools and state schools located in affluent areas or with a lower intake of pupils of non-Italian ethnic backgrounds.
2019
diversity/cohesion/segregation, education, home-to-school mobility, race/ethnicity, school choice
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1086788
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