Separate and Unequal? Study Finds Schools Still Segregated. Parents Are Exploring the Options

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September 25, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

Image: Dmitriy Shironosov

What year is it? Are we still in 1954? That’s the year of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education, when the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. It seems, however, things have not changed that much.

According to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education, an overwhelming majority of Latino and black students study in racially isolated classrooms; 80 percent of Latino students and 74 percent of black students are in schools where the majority of students are not white. “More specifically, 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of black attend ‘intensely segregated schools’ where white students comprise 10 percent or less of the student body,” according to the analysis by Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, which The Huffington Post covered.

The report “also found that the average black or Latino student now goes to a school where low-income students account for nearly double the proportion of poor students than the average white or Asian student,” says the Huffington Post.

Where is this most disturbing trend more prevalent? The South. “More northern states like New York, Illinois and Michigan tend to have the most segregated schools for black students while Washington, Nebraska and Kansas are most integrated, “ states the article.

But it isn’t just about integration. It’s about the quality of education black students are offered. “Simply sitting next to a white student does not guarantee better educational outcomes for students of color,” the report reads. “Instead, the resources that are consistently linked to predominantly white and/or wealthy schools help foster real and serious educational advantages over minority segregated settings.”

What does this mean for your child? What are your options? Many African Americans are turning to charter schools. A report studying African Americans in charter schools in California found that black children are excelling in the setting, though many education experts still doubt the standards of charter schools. The Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform report, released by CCSA in October 2011, shows that California charter public schools are effectively accelerating the performance of African American students, and that African-American students are enrolled at higher percentage in the state’s charters.

African Americans are also taking the private school route to ensure their children receive an equal quality of eduction. “Black enrollment in Catholic schools stands at about 200,000 students nationally, and minority enrollment has risen from one-tenth in 1970 to more than one-quarter in 2004,” says the National Catholic Educational Association. Some 400 historically black independent schools operate around the country, serving 52,000 pupils, the educator Gail Foster reported in 2000 in the anthology City Schools (Johns Hopkins University Press). Voucher programs in Florida, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., affect 33,000 pupils, “the overwhelming number of them minorities,” reported  The New York Times back in 2004.

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