My research focuses on how ideas about race and racial inequality affect policies and practices in organizations. This research has two main strands: examining the discourse around racial equity in K-12 schools and exploring parents' racialized school preferences.

Discourse around Racial Equity in K-12 Schools

School District Commitments to Racial Equity, 2020-present

Many US school districts made statements expressing commitment to racial equity after George Floyd's murder. How did they describe this commitment? What underlying assumptions about race and education do these statements reveal? Which districts made statements, and which remained silent? What happened after the statements? How did districts follow through on their commitments? My dissertation uses an original dataset to answer these questions using computational text analysis methods.

 DEI Professionals in Elite K-12 Schools

While research has examined how corporations and universities have approached Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for several decades, most of this research has focused on what practices "work" in firms. But research has done less to understand the lived experiences of DEI professionals. I am conducting interviews to better understand the perspectives and give voice to these professionals, particularly those who work in elite K-12 private schools in the mid-Atlantic region.

If you are a DEI Professional who is currently working or previously worked in a elite K-12 school, please email me at bonnie[dot]r[dot]siegler[at]columbia[dot]edu to learn more about participating in this study. Thank you to all who have contributed!

School Racial Composition and Parents School Preferences

Survey Experiments

 With my co-author, Greer Mellon, I have conducted a set of survey experiments examining how school racial composition affects parents preferences.  We contribute to this growing field by examining anti-Asian bias in white parents preferences. Our data show that white parents in the US prefer elementary schools with fewer Asian students. White parents believe their children won't “fit in” at schools with more Asian students and are willing to make tradeoffs in academic quality to choose whiter schools. This paper adds to growing consensus that parents form school preferences based on school racial composition, driven in part by beliefs about "belonging" in schools (see Billingham and Hunt 2016, Hailey 2022, Hailey 2022, and Billingham et al. 2020), and an even stronger consensus that increasing parent school choice will not increase school racial integration. 

Citation: Mellon, Greer, and Bonnie Siegler. 2023. "New Experimental Evidence on Anti-Asian Bias in White Parents’ School Preferences." Sociology of Education.

Diversity and School Choice Narratives

I have also conducted interviews with parents about their experience of public school choice. This work is currently under review, so no more details can be provided at this time.