Are Schools Re-Segregating? Stats Show Racial Integration Is On The Decline

May 19, 2014  |  

“Most black . . .children attend schools where 90 percent or more of the students look like them,” writes The Daily Beast, in story that makes you think the American school system is reverting back to the 1960s.

We commemorated Brown’s 60-year anniversary on Saturday, but experts ask what’s there to celebrate . Schools, according to American Progress, are almost as segregated as they were six decades ago? Nearly 80 percent of white children attend schools where 90 percent of their classmates are also white. Forty percent of black and Hispanic kids attend schools were more than 90 percent of students are non-white.

“In Tuscaloosa  today, nearly 1 in 3 black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened,” ProRepublica wrote. This is startling statistic since, and The Daily Beast reports, the South after the ’70s was “the most integrated in the nation.”  The region, however, isn’t nearly as segregated as other parts of the U.S. “More than half of black students in New York, Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan attend schools where 90 percent or more are minority,” Houston Chronicle said.

Brown implementation is softening, leading to some regression. Federal Courts have permitted states to abandon “mandatory busing and other desegregation efforts imposed” back in the 60s. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools should no longer implement integration strategies based solely on race.

Charter schools also play a significant role in today’s resegegration because of their screening system. Students are selected based on test scores which, without fail, excluding some students, many of them low-income. Previous studies have proven that low test scores correlate with low socio-economic income. As a result, charter schools inflame inequality and segregation in schools, but they’re rationalized by their merit-based enrollment.

“Charter schools often tend to skim the ‘best students’ from communities and under-enroll those with special needs,” The Daily Beast added.

As for the students “left behind,” so to speak, they attend schools that often have fewer resources which deny them “the opportunities, the contacts, and the networking that occur when you’re with people from different socio-economic backgrounds,” Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU, told Houston Chronicle.

Across the U.S., per-student spending for mostly-white public schools is 18 percent higher ($733 more per student)  than mostly-black schools. Among schools with the highest percentage of black and Hispanic students, a third do not offer chemistry and a quarter don’t teach teach Algebra II.

For educational prospects to improve for the nation’s schools, we need to first improve all schools.

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