Resources

New to School Integration?

Most parents would deny that racism plays any part in their decisions about where to send their children to school. Yet our narratives around “good” and “bad” schools are shot through with assumptions that involve race and perpetuate racially biased systems. These resources provide background for understanding the segregated state of education in this country, the value and promise of integration, and the ways that we as White and/or privileged parents can “flip the script” and start changing the conversation about our schools.

Awkward Conversations Guide
For those of us thinking about integration and racial justice, the “schools” conversation can be messy, nuanced, and complicated; fraught issues of parenting, community, race, and class are all in play. Developed by Integrated Schools, this guide is designed to help you engage in the schools conversation in ways that ultimately transform the toxic schools narrative, one playground encounter at a time.
https://mailchi.mp/b7d97e1aea5d/awkward-conversations-guide

“The Problem We All Live With Part 1” and “The Problem We All Live With Part 2.”
This American Life 2-part podcast with Nikole Hannah-Jones – “Listen to both episodes. Then listen again.”
https://www.thisamericanlife.org/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with-part-one

“Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City: How one school became a battleground over which children benefit from a separate and unequal system”
Hannah-Jones, Nikole (2016) NYTimes – An essential read by the Beyoncé of school segregation journalism and MacArthur Genius Award Winner, Nikole Hannah-Jones. But anything by NHJ is worth your time! Youtube also has a whole host of interviews, etc., with NHJ – just search her name.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/12/magazine/choosing-a-school-for-my-daughter-in-a-segregated-city.html

Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education
Rooks, Noliwe (2017). American studies professor Rooks provides a trenchant analysis of our separate and unequal schools and argues that profiting from our nation’s failure to provide a high-quality education to all children has become a very big business.
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781620975985?aff=IntegratedSchools

Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works
Johnson, Rucker (2019). We are frequently told that school integration was a social experiment doomed from the start. But as economist Rucker C. Johnson demonstrates in Children of the Dream, it was, in fact, a spectacular achievement. Drawing on longitudinal studies going back to the 1960s, Dr. Johnson shows that students who attended desegregated and well-funded schools were more successful in life than those who did not — and this held true for children of all races and for their children.
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781541672703?aff=IntegratedSchools

Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality
Schneider, Jack (2017). When it comes to sizing up public schools, test scores are the go-to metric of state policy makers and anxious parents looking to place their children in the “best” schools. Yet ample research indicates that standardized tests are a poor way to measure a school’s performance.
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780674976399?aff=IntegratedSchools
Also, check out this Have You Heard Podcast (a great resource overall!) discussion with author (2017) The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate, and Segregation and the more recent IS podcast (Feb. 2020)
https://integratedschools.simplecast.com/episodes/schneider

This Week with John Oliver on School Segregation. October 30.
Oliver, John (2016). Because it’s good. And yes, quite funny in that John Oliver way
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8yiYCHMAlM

How Racially Diverse Schools and Classrooms Can Benefit All Students
Wells, Amy Stuart, Lauren Fox & Diana Cordova (2016). A long report produced by The Century Foundation, rich with data. Outlines the decades of research on school integration, including the benefits for White and /or privileged students.
https://tcf.org/content/report/how-racially-diverse-schools-and-classrooms-can-benefit-all-students

Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation
Delmont, Matt (2016). “This groundbreaking book shows how school officials, politicians, the courts, and the media gave precedence to the desires of White parents who opposed school desegregation over the civil rights of Black students. Why Busing Failed shows how antibusing parents and politicians ultimately succeeded in preventing full public school desegregation”.
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780520284258?aff=IntegratedSchools

The Privilege of School Choice: When given the chance, will wealthy parents ever choose to desegregate schools?
Wall, Patrick (2017) The Atlantic, April 25. A bold look at rezoning fights in NYC. While the details might be particular to the Big Apple, the underlying narratives are all too familiar across the US.
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/the-privilege-of-school-choice/524103/

Frontline film (2014) Separate and Unequal (running time 27:14)
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/separate-and-unequal/

Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits
Erikson, Ansley (2016). This is very long and detailed and beautiful and disturbing look at Nashville Tennessee’s history of redlining and segregation.
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780226025254?aff=IntegratedSchools
Also, check out this video of Dr. Erickson discussing her book (56min):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fzllsKgcfQ

School Integration and K-12 Outcomes: An Updated Quick Synthesis of the Social Science Evidence, National Coalition on School Diversity Research Brief #5.
Mickelson, Roslyn (2016)
https://www.school-diversity.org/pdf/DiversityResearchBriefNo5.pdf

Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America.
Ryan, James (2010). “Tracing the fortunes of two schools in Richmond, Virginia–one in the city and the other in the suburbs. Ryan shows how court rulings in the 1970s, limiting the scope of desegregation, laid the groundwork for the sharp disparities between urban and suburban public schools that persist to this day. The Supreme Court, in accord with the wishes of the Nixon administration, allowed the suburbs to lock nonresidents out of their school systems. City schools, whose student bodies were becoming increasingly poor and black, simply received more funding, a measure that has proven largely ineffective, while the independence (and superiority) of suburban schools remained sacrosanct. Ryan explains why all the major education reforms since the 1970s have failed to bridge the gap between urban and suburban schools and have unintentionally entrenched segregation by race and class. As long as that segregation continues, Ryan forcefully argues, so too will educational inequality.”
https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780199836857?aff=IntegratedSchools