Lots of major and under-the-radar school (de)segregation news already this month, so this roundup is organized by sub-topics to hopefully make it easier to find what you’re looking for, including as many links as I could find regarding the NYC school diversity plan.
- Alabama – This blog post from Derek Black is a follow-up to earlier coverage of segregation by (court approved!) succession in Jefferson County, Alabama. I wrote about this in an earlier roundup, but Black has a much better way of saying it: “Unfortunately, there’s no middle ground in segregation cases. No matter what spin a court puts on it, allowing secessions like Gardendale’s hands racism a win.” While previous coverage pins this on the decision of a single judge, the post here rightly and thoughtfully explores the larger social issues that led to Gardendale’s succession.
- Ohio – The state’s open enrollment law allows students to attend schools outside of their home district, as long as the receiving district opts in. So, many predominantly white suburban districts have not opted in. The result, according to a recent report from the Fordham Institute? “While the largest eight cities in the state were composed of more than 70 percent students of color, the surrounding districts that declined transfers had fewer than 30 percent non-white students.” Here’s a great summary in Chalkbeat.
- Long Island, NY – New research from ERASE Racism (@EraseRacism) shows that 3 of every 4 black students and 2 of every 3 Hispanic students attend a majority-minority segregated school. Here’s the press release, infographic, interactive map and full report.
- Richmond, VA – Strong illustration of how housing and school segregation are reciprocal. Apparently, a housing developer threatened to pull out of a 1,000 unit development if it was zoned to a majority-minority high school.
- Vacherie, LA – A lawsuit challenges a decision by the Louisiana Board of Education to open a segregated charter school in rural LA. Plaintiffs claim violation of a longstanding desegregation order – although the surrounding district is 62% black, the school’s enrollment is 93% black.
- Hartford, CT – Troubling news from one of the more promising examples of school integration. The CT governor wants to adjust the definition of what it means to be an integrated magnet school, from 75% max minority to 80%. So, a school with 80% minority students could be considered “integrated.” The governor’s office claims that it will allow “about 300” minority students from Hartford to attend magnet schools – it claims these students are blocked by the 75% ceiling. But, civil rights groups oppose the plan, suggesting that it’s a slippery slope back to segregation. The state faces this dilemma in large part because white families have not opted in to magnet schools enough to pull the racial makeup below the 75% threshold. The plan will be reviewed in court – will keep you updated.
Wanted to mix in some promising school integration stories –
- Cleveland, MS – This article is a short follow up on a series of stories that came out last year re a federal judge’s recent desegregation order for Cleveland, MS. Brief background – a court decision in 2013 allowed families broader choice within the district’s public schools. Black families enrolled in traditionally white schools, but the reverse never happened. This led to a mix at Cleveland HS, but consolidation of the remaining black students at nearby East Side HS. The two schools will consolidate next year. This quote, from an East Side student is tough: “For the past 50 years, the kids have always been taught that East Side was a bad school and they have been looked down upon.” As noted here previously, the Brown decision stated that segregation was inherently bad because of the stigma it caused. More than 60 years later, that same issue arises here. This quote, from “outgoing East Side senior Natashia Washington is more hopeful – “It’s emotional…But better things are to come for Cleveland.”
- Washington, DC – The Washington Post looks at how changes in PreK enrollment in DC might affect school segregation in the city. The article also introduces a startup grassroots organization devoted to school integration in DC – Learn Together, Live Together. You can find them on Twitter (@LearnTLiveT) and Facebook. Their founder says: “I think segregation and economic inequality are the root causes of school failure in this country. If we can’t get that right, we’ll never get it right.” Yep.
A few stories covered mechanisms for maintaining segregation even within schools that may be considered integrated on the whole, such as:
- Ability grouping – This podcast from With Good Reason Radio highlights research from Jo Boaler at Stanford who “says the latest brain science is showing ability grouping to be a sham.” In addition to the full podcast, this link includes short videos from several of the researchers whose work is cited.
- School discipline – The ability grouping podcast also discusses school discipline, noting that “Black students can be anywhere from three to six times as likely to receive suspensions or expulsions as compared to their peers.” In a related piece, researchers asked students about the root cause of disparities in school discipline. Students reported that “teachers appeared to be supporting students who they perceived to be more academically inclined. Those students tended to be white.”
Public Support for Integration:
Back on the plus side, several studies came out recently that document strong public interest in school integration.
- The LA School Report summarizes recent research from the New Education Majority (full report) – A poll of over 12,000 black and latinx parents nationwide found that “9 out of 10 black parents and 57 percent of Latino parents nationwide believe that schools in their communities are underfunded compared to those in white communities.”
- The Huffington Post covers research from the Center for American Progress – based on a nationally representative sample, the study found that “seventy percent of survey respondents said they think more efforts should be made to integrate low- and high-poverty schools, and over 60 percent of respondents said the issue of school segregation is at least somewhat important to them, even across all major racial subgroups.”
- My quick take on this – the school privatization movement claims to put parent concerns front and center, but this research shows that parents clearly are concerned with much more than the public/charter/voucher debate
- The Center for American Progress also created an interactive district-by-district map of economic segregation in American public education. See summary and background info here.
- A recent short (14min) podcast from the Intercultural Development Research Association outlines racial and economic segregation patterns before discussing “how some school districts in the South have turned to using students’ socioeconomic backgrounds to help integrate schools.” The website at the link above includes a lot of useful resources related to both socioeconomic and racial segregation.
Links! New York City school diversity plan
And, yes – you may have heard that NYC released a much anticipated school diversity plan. This is too big a topic for a news roundup, but I wanted to include the links:
- Here’s the full, 13-page plan
- A list of all the coverage Google can find and a collection of articles from Chalkbeat
- Highlights of the plan also from Chalkbeat
- Analysis from the NYTimes, which calls the plan “small-bore” and another piece, published today, in which the mayor “won’t call New York City schools segregated”
- A short (11min) video of a panel discussion, which includes Nikole Hannah-Jones
- With a NYTimes Insider account, you can also join Nikole Hannah-Jones for a discussion about the plan on Tuesday, June 13th at 6:30pm
- It feels only fitting to end with Nikole Hannah-Jones’ great Twitter thread about the plan