"Separate Remains Extremely Unequal." And With Rising Resegregation Comes More Inequality.
Students of color face a "double segregation by both race and poverty" in schools across the country. A report from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles documents the dramatic resegregation of our nation's schools in the past two decades and how a disproportionate number of students of color and low-income students are consequently denied access to high quality educational resources and opportunities.
The report, "E Pluribus... Separation: Deepening Double Segregation for More Students," looks at federal data from the 2009-2010 school year to find that "the typical Black or Latino [student] today attends school with almost double the share of low-income students in their schools than the typical white or Asian student." In the early 1990s, the average Black or Latino student attended a school where one third of students were low-income, but today they attend schools where two thirds of students are low-income.
Additionally, "80% of Latino students and 74% of Black students attend majority nonwhite schools (50-100% minority), and 43% of Latinos and 38% of Blacks attend intensely segregated schools (those with only 0-10% of whites students) across the nation. Fully 15% of Black students, and 14% of Latino students, attend 'apartheid schools' across the nation, where whites make up 0 to 1% of the enrollment." In contrast, while White students make up just over half of the nation's enrollment, a typical White student can count on at least 3 out of every 4 of his classmates also being White.
The report says the country made progress in desegregating schools from 1960 to the late 1980s, but that trend has been reversed by changing national demographics and education policies that enable rather than discourage resegregation – all of which amounts to increasingly inequitable access to the resources students need to succeed.
"The consensus of nearly sixty years of social science research on the harms of school segregation is clear: separate remains extremely unequal. Schools of concentrated poverty and segregated minority schools are strongly related to an array of factors that limit educational opportunities and outcomes. These include less experienced and less qualified teachers, high levels of teacher turnover, less successful peer groups and inadequate facilities and learning materials. There is also a mounting body of evidence indicating that desegregated schools are linked to important benefits for all children, including prejudice reduction, heightened civic engagement, more complex thinking and better learning outcomes in general."
The report proposes several policy solutions, including raising awareness of relationship between segregation and unequal educational outcomes; better monitoring of land use and zoning and advocating for low-income housing in developing communities with strong schools; promoting diverse communities and schools as highly desirable; enforcing laws that would encourage desegregation; and renewing government policies that assist with integration.
You can learn more about the report and download it here.
- Brookings Institution report: "Housing Costs, Zoning, and Access to High-Scoring Schools"
- The Schott Foundation for Public Education report, "The Urgency of Now," which examines how federal, state and local education policies are systematically neglecting students of color and denying them fair and substantive opportunities to learn.
- Another Civil Rights Project report, "Opportunities Suspended," which documenting how students of color and students with special needs are subject to disparate school discipline policies and more likely to be given harsh punishments and out-of-school suspensions.