Friday, July 15, 2016

After Being Ordered To Consolidate, District Argues It Would Create White Flight | ThinkProgress

After Being Ordered To Consolidate, District Argues It Would Create White Flight | ThinkProgress:

After Being Ordered To Consolidate, District Argues It Would Create White Flight


five-decade fight to desegregate the schools in a small Mississippi town continues, as the school district is appealing a federal court order for the district to combine its two high schools and two middle schools.
Two of the school district’s schools, a middle school and a high school, are overwhelmingly black. As of May of last year, in fact, every single child enrolled at the Cleveland school district’s high school was black. The federal judge presiding over the case concluded that consolidating schools would allow the “greatest degree of desegregation possible” in the county.
The school district is appealing this decision, however. The school board’s three white board members voted to appeal while its two black board members voted against it, according to the Washington Post. The school board’s lawyer, Jamie Jacks, told the Post that “the district has the most integrated classrooms of any school district in the area,” and that school consolidation would result in white flight from the schools.
Although these two schools continue to be racially isolated, the school district has been ordered to desegregate through various reforms. A 1969 court order instructed the school district to divide into attendance zones to ensure diversity in schools. But in the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint claiming some of the school district's policies were still standing in the way of integration.
The Cleveland school district certainly isn't alone. There are a lot of school desegregation cases that remain open decades after they first began. ProPublica took a close look at these desegregation orders in 2014 and found that, although many court orders have been lifted over the past 15 years, some still remain open. The highest number of these cases, both voluntary and court-ordered desegregation cases, were concentrated in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.
For instance, there has been a lawsuit against the Avoyelles Parish School Board in Louisiana for almost 50 years by now. Last year, a desegregation order from the U.S. Department of Justice laid out the various policies and expectations the Avoyelles Parish school system must meet. Critics of Louisiana's school voucher program say that the program is increasing school segregation.
There were still fairly high numbers of open cases in New York, California, and Connecticut, however. Looking at the national picture, a high percentage of students of color attend segregated schools. A study released in 2012 from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that 43 percent of Latino students and 38 percent of black students in the U.S. attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white. More than one in seven black and Latino students attend "apartheid" schools or schools where less than 1 percent of their classmates are white.
Recent U.S. Supreme Court cases haven’t aided efforts to desegregate. The court ruled public school assignment plans would not “take account of students’ race” in a 2007 case affecting students in Louisville, Kentucky and Seattle, effectively hamstringing many school districts' efforts to make their schools more diverse.After Being Ordered To Consolidate, District Argues It Would Create White Flight | ThinkProgress:


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