News North America

Published on September 20th, 2012 | by Mark O'Brien

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Decades After Desegregation, U.S. Schools Still Largely Segregated, Report Says

By Mark O’Brien
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

WASHINGTON, United States — Nearly 60 years after segregation was ruled unconstitutional, a new study released this week claimed students across the United States still are learning in segregated classrooms.

A new study shows U.S. Schools are largely segregated, leaving black and Latino students racially isolated. (Photo Courtesy of Chicago Magazine)

The Civil Rights Project reported on Wednesday that black and Latino students are racially isolated because whites are largely concentrated in schools with other whites.  The Project, based at the University of California, Los Angeles, analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Education in drawing its conclusions.

“Extreme segregation is becoming more common,” said Gary Orfield, author of the report and co-director of the Project.

The study showed 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of blacks across the country attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white.  Moreover, roughly one in seven black and Latino students go to school where fewer than 1 percent of the class is white.

New York, California, and Texas were states where Latino segregation is most pronounced.  New York, Illinois, and Michigan were states where black segregation is most pronounced.

“Simply sitting next to a white student does not guarantee better education outcomes for students of color,” the report said.  “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.”

In the Chicago area, for instance, 70 percent of all black students attend schools that are more than 90 percent minority.  Nearly half attend schools that are 99 percent minority, making Chicago more segregated than Detroit, New York-Newark, and Los Angeles.

“These trends threaten the nation’s success as a multiracial society,” Orfield said.  “We are disappointed to have heard nothing in the campaign about this issue from neither President Obama, who is the product of excellent integrated schools and colleges, nor from Governor Romney, whose father gave up his job in the Nixon Cabinet because of his fight for fair housing, which directly impacts school make-up.”

The report also targeted charter schools for falling short of equal education promises.

The results come nearly six decades after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which marked the end of legal segregation in public schools.  The case involved a class action suit brought by 13 parents against the Board of Education of the City of Topeka, Kan.

Among states with most integrated schools for black students are Kansas, Nebraska, and Washington, according to the report.

For further information, please see:

Chicago Magazine — Chicagoland Schools: For Blacks, the Most Segregated in the Country — 20 September 2012

The Huffington Post — American Schools Still Heavily Segregated by Race, Income: Civil Rights Project Report — 20 September 2012

The Root — Too Many Black Kids in ‘Apartheid Schools’ — 20 September 2012

The New York Times — Segregation Prominent in Schools, Study Finds — 19 September 2012


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