About Integrated Schools
Integrated Schools is focused on behavior change for White and/or privileged parents.
As one of the most important pillars of our democracy, America’s public education system has the promise of building shared experience, common knowledge, and equal opportunities. However, despite the landmark 1954 Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education ruling that “separate is not equal,” our public schools today are increasingly segregated by race and socioeconomic status.
Many White and/or privileged families use their privilege to access more heavily-resourced schools, concentrating privilege and isolating their children from learning and growing with classmates who have different life experiences. The result for students of color is often high concentrations of vulnerability in under-resourced schools.
This caste system of public education magnifies our polarization, harming our children who are growing up in segregated spaces, thus presenting grave threats to justice and our democracy as a whole.
White parents have been the key barrier to the advancement of school integration and educational equity.
We have consistently fought against policies that would put our children in schools with majority black and brown children, or avoided enrolling our children in those schools. To the extent we have enrolled our children in these schools, we have treated diversity primarily as a commodity for the benefit of our own children; and/or entered these schools with the assumption that they are broken and need White parents to fix them.
The primary purpose of the Integrated Schools movement is to change these behaviors through grassroots organizing. Past policies to end school segregation have been thwarted by White families even as the burden of these failed efforts has fallen on marginalized communities. Our approach mobilizes White and/or privileged families to prioritize equity as we integrate our families into schools where White students are in the minority.
Integrated Schools starts by changing the conversation at the playground about “good” and “bad” schools.
The language we use when discussing school quality often serves to mask what are actually conversations about race and privilege. Changing the conversation around integration is not easy, but we are empowered by the belief that integration is not a sacrifice of our own children but rather an investment in the future of all children and the world we want for our kids. We believe that our kids are better off outside of a segregated bubble, and that learning with children from all backgrounds makes great people and great schools.
Integrated Schools is growing a grassroots movement of, by and for parents who are intentionally, joyfully and humbly enrolling their children in integrating schools.
Informed by researchers and thought leaders of color, Integrated Schools encourages parents to enroll our White and/or privileged children in schools where they are not in the majority, with the understanding that when we arrive, our impact matters more than our intent.
We call White and/or privileged parents into the practice of anti-racist school integration and the dismantling of a White supremacy culture that dehumanizes us all. We encourage integrating parents to practice “followership” rather than leadership, by listening to families of color about the needs of our schools and the children who already attend them, and by working to build community and relationships, rather than trying to get these schools to conform to our idea of “good.”
Through national organizing, we support, educate, develop and mobilize White and/or privileged families to live our values and leverage our choices for the well-being and futures of our own children, of all children, and of our democracy.
Raising consciousness of the problem of segregation and the promise of integration, we uplift stories, news and research on this topic and provide forums for discussion.
Desegregating Our Children
Integrated Schools supports parents in the process of making these decisions through a community of support and providing one-on-one parent mentoring with other parents who have walked this path.
Integrating with an Equity & Inclusion Mindset
Meaningful integration demands respecting the needs and dreams of all students and families in a school. It means true partnership, mutual investment, being “in service” and “in community”.
Integrated Schools is creating a grassroots demand and personally-invested constituency for courageous policy.