Wednesday, September 14, 2016

UNC report calls Wilmington schools "hyper-segregated"

UNC report calls Wilmington schools "hyper-segregated":

UNC report calls Wilmington schools "hyper-segregated"

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Authors argue a shift toward "neighborhood schools" has re-segregated the district and hurt student achievement at majority-minority schools.


NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- A new report from the UNC Center for Civil Rights said more than half of New Hanover County schools are "racially imbalanced," and called the district's four magnet schools "hyper-segregated."
The report was published this week by the center's Inclusion Project, which documents segregation across North Carolina. In it, the authors argue a shift toward "neighborhood schools" has re-segregated the district and hurt student achievement at schools with higher minority populations.
"Between 2006 and 2010, the New Hanover Board of Education adopted a student assignment model that emphasizes proximity and 'neighborhood schools'," the report reads. "The Board’s reassignment decisions, which were prompted by capacity concerns and the construction of new schools in rural parts of the county, signaled an end to the district’s effort to maintain racial and socio-economic diversity in its schools in the face of significant residential segregation."
The UNC Center for Civil Rights has been involved in the district since at least early this year, when a group of black and Latino parents reached out the center with concerns about racial gaps in thedistrict's Spanish-Immersion program. The parents' children had been wait-listed for the program, which was then located at Forest Hills Global Elementary and was 73 percent white during the 2015-16 school year.
The report's authors track the racial changes at NHCS's magnet schools since 2006, when the school board converted Freeman Elementary and Snipes Elementary to magnet schools. Many seats at the schools were reserved for children who lived nearby in downtown Wilmington.
"When both new magnet programs opened, the percentage of white students at Freeman and Snipes dropped from 30 percent to 11 percent and 28 percent to 10 percent, respectively," the report reads.
Last school year, Freeman and Snipes were 84 percent and 81.3 percent black, respectively. The district's other two magnet schools, Gregory Elementary and D.C. Virgo Preparatory Academy, went from 48 percent and 67.1 percent black to 86 percent and 77.9 percent black in the same time, according to data in the report.
End-of-grade test proficiency scores have since declined at all four schools -- between 2005 and 2014, Gregory's scores dropped more than 30 percent.
"This deliberate action by the school board -- which reinforces patterns of residential racial and economic segregation -- adversely impacts all students, but has particularly harmed students and educational opportunities in the Wilmington area," the report reads. "Although magnet programs are generally established to attract diverse student bodies, NHCS’s magnet schools have failed to attract white, suburban students to the Wilmington area, leaving these schools hyper-segregated and under-enrolled." UNC report calls Wilmington schools "hyper-segregated":
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