Segregation — Racial, Ethnic, and Economic — Dominates Nation’s Schools
Last week marked the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education to end school segregation. Coincidentally last week, a small school district in the Delta town of Cleveland, Mississippi that has held out for half a century to preserve separate schools for black and white students was ordered by a federal court to merge its segregated middle and high schools. The court order ends what Jimmie Gates of the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledgercalls “a five-decade legal battle to desegregate schools in the 12,000-population city in north Mississippi.” Ironically the court order to desegregate this small, Mississippi school district runs counter to what’s happening as the rest of the nation resegregates.
To recognize the anniversary of the Brown decision, researchers who have been tracking school segregation, desegregation, and resegregation for years at UCLA’s Civil Rights Project—Gary Orfield, Jongyeon Ee, Erica Frankenberg and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley—have publisheda research brief that tracks how the courts and and policy makers have turned away from efforts to desegregate the nation’s public schools racially, ethnically, and economically.
According to the Civil Rights Project’s researchers, the most racially segregated states today are New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and New Jersey. They add: “The relative decline in the ranking of Michigan, which was often up with Illinois and New York as most segregated, probably relates to the drastic shrinkage of the Detroit Public Schools and suburbanization of black families in that metropolitan area.”
Today, the nation’s most populous and urban northern states post the highest rates of black-white school segregation, while the Brown decision was quite successful in integrating the schools across the South. Why is that? “Because of the dramatic changes in southern segregation produced by the enforcement of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, none of the 17 states that completely segregated schools by law (e.g., the type of mandatory segregation that was the focus of the Brown decision) have headed this list since 1970…. The ironic historic reality Segregation — Racial, Ethnic, and Economic — Dominates Nation’s Schools | janresseger: