Aversion to multi-ethnic schools in the Netherlands: Examining the aversion among lower and higher educated by means of closed and open ended questions
General Social Sciences Utrecht University Utrecht, The Netherlands
Processes of ethnic segregation are becoming more apparent in schools in the Netherlands. In this contribution we focus on the aversion of native Dutch to multi-ethnic schools. We investigate to what extent this aversion varies with different concentrations of ethnic minority pupils. In particular, we focus on the differences between lower and higher educated Dutch in their level of aversion and the determinants thereof. We set out to answer the following questions: (1) To what extent is there variation in highly and poorly educated people's aversion to schools with different concentrations of ethnic minority children? (2) To what extent can we explain these relationships between educational level and aversion to schools with ethnic minority children, i.e. relationships that vary with the degrees of concentration of ethnic minority children? These questions will be answered with data from a large-scale survey among a representative sample of the Dutch population, gathered in 2005. We found that aversion to schools with ethnic minority children is more widespread in cases of high concentrations of ethnic minority children. However, as concentrations of ethnic minority children increase, this aversion becomes particularly more widespread among highly educated people. We investigate to what extent this aversion to multi-ethnic schools is driven by prejudice, perceived ethnic threat, ethnic stereotypes, perceived class differences and political attitudes. We compare the varying effects of these determinants of aversion to multi-ethnic schools across situations where respectively about a tenth, a quarter, half, or more than half of the pupils have an ethnic minority background. These quantitative results are combined with an analysis of open ended questions in which respondents were asked to express in their own words why they object (or not) to a school where half of the pupils have an ethnic minority background. The combined quantitative and qualitative data shed more light on the causes and underlying motives of school preferences that affect the ongoing process of school segregation.