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The landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1957) stated that separate was not equal and paved the wave for integrating schools.  In the late 1960s and 1970s, court-ordered school integration occurred across the United States.  Yet fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, many schools are as segregated as the schools in the 1950s.  Segregation by race, class and language remains a salient issue in America's schools.  This is somehow less surprising than I would like to admit.

Alexander Russo writes:

As nearly everyone knows, the great desegregation experiment also touched off a “white flight” —the exodus of white middle class families from urban areas into the suburbs, where lending requirements and zoning laws seemed designed to keep the draw bridge up and low-income and even upwardly mobile African-American families out. In those years, communities became more racially and economically homogenous; and in the 1990s, district after district succeeded in having their court-mandated desegregation orders lifted. Segregation became the norm in public schools again. Currently, African-American children, and particularly low-income African American children, are just as likely to attend majority non-white schools as they were in 1960. (Full Article Here).
And, reports out of the Civil Rights Project and KuliKuli Research show the high levels of Hispanic segregation in California.  The state of segregation is unnerving, but I think what is maybe more challenging is that there is a lack of concern.  

One could argue that this country is moving toward being "race blind", although I think that is a challenging argument to make. But, even if we were "race blind", there is significant evidence of the benefits of desegregation.  By integrating students, the cycle of segregation can be broken.  Non-white students gain access to high-status institutions and the powerful social networks within them.  Integration also has the potential to provide access to better resources for disadvantaged students.  High-minority and high-poverty schools have less experienced and qualified teachers than those attended by affluent students. And, when students attend schools with a diverse student body they are more likely to be empathetic and aware of other cultures.  Policy needs to address the needs of all, but growing up separated makes it more difficult to see the needs of all.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    ------ Enjoying the gift of an ordinary day

    by DocRunning on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:12:11 PM PDT

  •  Tip/rec for this. Especially the last bit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco
    And, when students attend schools with a diverse student body they are more likely to be empathetic and aware of other cultures.  Policy needs to address the needs of all, but growing up separated makes it more difficult to see the needs of all.
    •  Thanks for pointing it out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alx9090

      Truly this is the biggest reason to be concerned about segregation.  Growing up separate is not good for the country and the segregated schools is everywhere.  My favorite example is in the Bay Area where Palo Alto is filled with students who live in multi-million dollar homes and right across the freeway is East Palo Alto where there are schools in which 50% of the students are homeless.  

      ------ Enjoying the gift of an ordinary day

      by DocRunning on Mon May 19, 2014 at 11:16:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tell you what (0+ / 0-)

    Tell me when the most progressive state in the union gets it shit together where it concerns racial disparities in per-pupil state and local spending.  Then we can talk about how sweet words about the people coming to Jesus over benefits of diversity will magically integrate our schools.

  •  Jim Crow got replaced with a membership fee (0+ / 0-)

    It's not illegal to discriminate on the basis of income; in fact, that's the most subtle and pervasive form of discrimination and basis for segregation there is.

    But yuppies will always accept other yuppies.  They're not threatened by racial minorities (or women, gays, etc.) who affirm the dominant cultural paradigm in everything they say and do ... especially because they know that the quickest way to get kicked out of the country club is to call attention to the one thing that makes you different from everyone else there.

    Of course, from North Korean political study groups to Afrikaner militia camps, the right loves to make this exact argument: that egalitarianism and communitarianism can only really exist in a homogeneous environment where people are implicitly not competing with each other because their interests are the same because they are the same.

    I mean the rich certainly don't compete with each other.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Sun May 18, 2014 at 11:38:42 PM PDT

  •  My ex taught in Chicago for from the 1960s into (0+ / 0-)

    the 1990s.  In theory, since all students were in the same school district, spending should have been equal.  

    But schools in poorer neighborhoods were in far worse physical states than those of comparable age in better neighborhoods.  Now some ignorant and/or racist people will claim this is the fault of the people who live in those neighborhoods somehow.  I have trouble imagining that the neighborhood affected such basic issues as whether the roof leaked or not.  Clearly, the decision had been made to spend less on the schools which served poor kids.

    "Integration" in Chicago during this period was mostly confined to the teachers, with many white teachers including my ex spending most or all of their careers in minority-majority schools.  Children were never integrated, and almost never interacted with children of other races except for a small number of schools which were in integrated neighborhoods.  And these "integrated" neighborhoods were generally in transition and within a decade or less would become almost exclusively one-race neighborhoods.

    Speaking as a white male, Chicago was the most racist city I ever experienced.

  •  Questions: Is the increasing school segregation (0+ / 0-)

    in the Northeast a function of deliberate policy, or simply an increase in minority population in the neighborhoods around the school(s)?

    And, what is the real life cure for white flight from the high minority urban areas?

    •  Policy potential (0+ / 0-)

      There are policy solutions. While even post Brown vs. Board and the Civil Rights acts of 1964 & 1965, many remained in segregated schools, great strides towards integration occurred, and the benefits for all students, not just African American ones, are well-documented.  But judicial rulings that began in the 1990s made it illegal to assign students based on race, so even districts that participated in voluntary busing within or between districts could no longer implement the policies.  Essentially, we need to own up to the fact that we are still highly segregated, particularly by class, and implement policy that integrates communities.  It's too easy for all of us to sit apart from each other.

      ------ Enjoying the gift of an ordinary day

      by DocRunning on Mon May 19, 2014 at 11:20:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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