Looking at the state of American schools, you wouldn’t think it has been six decades since Brown vs. Broad of Education, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated schools. “African-American and Latino students are less likely to attend racially and ethnically diverse schools today than at any other time in the last four decades,” reports Al Jazeera America.
The data is disheartening. A September 2012 study by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles found that more than 74 percent of African-American students and 80 percent of Latinos attended schools in 2009-10 where at least half the population consisted of only one minority.
Instead of becoming more integrated, American schools are actually resegregating, in part due to a string of court cases since 1991 that have reversed court enforcement and monitoring of efforts to desegregate schools, according education and legal experts.
Students are missing out again on diversity. In fact, in Texas and other states experiencing resegregation of their schools, students now often grow up interacting only with other students who look like them, notes Al Jazeera America.
Despite the browning of America fast becoming a reality, schools will no longer reflect society as a whole.
According to the findings from the Civil Rights Project, in 1970, nearly 80 percent of all students enrolled in U.S. schools were white. By 2009, this had dropped to roughly 50 percent. But during the same period, Latino enrollment increased from about five percent to nearly one-quarter, surpassing African Americans. Latinos are now the largest minority group enrolled in America’s schools.
The study found that 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of African Americans attend what it identified as “intensely segregated” schools, where minorities make up 90 to 100 percent of the student body. “In some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, minorities attend what the study calls ‘apartheid’ schools, where students of color make up 99 to 100 percent of the population,” reports the news site.
This is a problem that is expanding countrywide. In New York, a third of African-American students attend “apartheid” schools meanwhile in Chicago the number is 50 percent, and 30 percent of Los Angeles’ Latinos attend segregated schools.
Some experts say charter schools may be making things worse because they concentrate wealth and experienced teachers in certain neighborhoods, which increasingly divides schools along socioeconomic lines.
While North Carolina, for example, has one of the most racially diverse public school systems in the country its charter schools are racially imbalanced. More than 60 percent of charter school students attend a school that is considered racially imbalanced, compared with 30 percent of public school students.