All Articles Tagged "resegregation"
By Charlotte Young
Across the country, the media has been picking up on a recent trend in public education—the separation of white and minority students to different and unequal schools. It’s a recurring trend that brings alarm to many who thought the fight for equality in schools had already been won.
But Dr. Martha Bireda, who’s been an education equity consultant for 20 years, is one who has known for a long time that “equal education is still elusive.” Throughout her consulting career, she took notice of the biases and dilemmas low-income minority children face everyday at school.
“There’s negative beliefs about the students and their families, low expectations for student achievement [and] a lack of collective responsibility for student achievement,” she said.
She further explained that there are often ‘stigmatizing’ learning environments that focus on controlling students instead of pushing them to academic excellence. As a result of her frustration around the disparities low-income children face in education, Bireda picked up her pen and addressed the problem in what became her recent book, Schooling Poor Minority Children: New Segregation in the Post-Brown Era.
“I believe that these students will continue to be chronically undereducated until the context in which they are schooled changes,” said Bireda. “It is my hope that this book will start a real discussion of all the factors, including those that contribute to low academic performance among this group of students.”
Today, for the first time in three years, the NAACP will begin their three-day national education summit in Raleigh, NC to address the problems within the nation’s educations system, particularly as it relates to re-segregating schools.
It’s a fight the civil rights organization is no stranger to since they have been advocating against segregation since the passing of Brown v. Brown. The flames were ignited within the last year as the organization brought attention to re-segregation activity in schools in the South, especially in North Carolina. This confirms a January 2009 report from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA that stated 40 percent of Latinos And 39 percent of Blacks now attend segregated schools, in which 90 to 100 percent of students are non-White.
Schools rely on code words, such as forced busing and neighborhood schools, to push segregation. According to NAACP North Carolina State Conference President Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, 40 years of research proves that re-segregation is in opposition to equal education. “We can prove that statistically—in North Carolina, there are 44 failing high schools where the graduating rate is less than 50 percent,” he explained. “With re-segregation there is underfunding, high teacher turnover, high suspension and low graduation rates.”
But segregation is only one roadblock on a complex journey to education reform and equality. Barber says the NAACP considers at least eight things that are critical to reform: stopping re-segregation and promoting diversity, equity in funding, high quality facilities and leadership, high quality teachers and smaller classrooms, parental and community involvement; a focus on math, science, history and reading, and addressing the disparities with minorities in graduation, suspension and drop-out rates.
“We need to treat the sickness for the system,” said Barber. “Re-segregation works against holding all those things together.”