Home > Uncategorized > One More Eye-Opening Statistic: Resegregation is Rampant

One More Eye-Opening Statistic: Resegregation is Rampant

June 24, 2016

The Federal report referenced in an earlier post taken from the Washington Post had some sobering data on segregation, which was the primary topic of Michele Chen’s post earlier this month in Nation, titled “Millenials Have Lived Through a Doubling of School Segregation” and subtitled “The Old Methods of Encouraging Integration in Our Schools are Failing”. In the article Ms. Chen summarizes the GAO’s findings on school segregations:

 Since 2001, according to a report by Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of poor, racially segregated schools (with more than three-fourths of one race and high poverty rates) jumped from 9 percent to 16 percent. So today’s millennials have, from the time they entered first grade through high-school graduation, witnessed the degree of educational segregation more than double, from about 7,000 segregated schools to 15,000 nationwide. GAO criticized the Department of Education for being lax in using legal intervention in cases of extreme educational discrimination.

Chen offers three factors that have contributed to this re-segregation, factors that have been highlighted in previous posts on this blog:

School segregation is the product of these structural racial fissures, shaped over generations by financial redliningsocial disinvestment, and, lately, gentrification and displacement in city neighborhoods.

Ms. Chen the summarizes the “free market” solutions offered by conservatives and neoliberals, and, in doing so, underplays their ineffectiveness by failing to point out that these tools have been in play since 2001, the very time that segregation doubled:

In response to subtler patterns of “self-segregation,” some reformers advocate a private-sector driven approach, including promoting “school choice” to facilitate student transfers, or charter schools as alternatives to mainstream public education. But these measures often perpetuate exclusion. Charter schools can intensify racial isolation of students and potentially widen resource gaps between less-regulated charters and traditional public schools. Generally, school choice often spurs the “voluntary” siphoning of kids by race, class, and academic ability.

Ms. Chen DOES offer one idealized solution: voluntary integration through housing policy:

Integration requires targeted housing-policy interventions, argues PRRAC Executive Director Philip Tegeler. Plans for siting public housing, for example, should foster neighborhoods that are designed to promote equitable educational opportunities as well as affordable homes. “State and local housing and education agencies need to be talking to each other, and planning together to promote integration,” Tegeler says via e-mail.

In the meantime, Ms. Chen suggests that school “…should be a safe space to explore and dream, not a bureaucratic gauntlet that “prepares” children for a racist world in adulthood” like the no excuses schools that presumably help minority children navigate our culture.

She concludes with this:

But ultimately no community will voluntarily desegregate without firm intervention, and no intervention works without the community’s trust. It will take a lot of faith to persuade families that the system that did not live up to the promise of the civil-rights movement for an older generation, might still salvage it for the next. 

And it will take even more charity for families who DID benefit from a high quality education to open their doors to children raised in poverty.


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