U.S. school segregation on the rise: report
Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:22pm EST
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Black and Latino students are educated in U.S. schools that are increasingly segregated, said a report Wednesday that undercuts optimism about race in America surrounding the presidency of Barack Obama.
Blacks and Hispanics are more separate from white students than at any time since the civil rights movement and many of the schools they attend are struggling, said the report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California.
A 2007 Supreme Court decision on voluntary desegregation is likely to intensify the trend because it reduces pressure on local authorities to promote school desegregation, said the report, which called on Obama to address the issue.
Obama, who will take the oath of office Tuesday, will be the county's first black president.
"It would be a tragedy if the country assumed from the Obama election that the problems of race have been solved, when many inequalities are actually deepening," said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project.
Orfield said these trends were "the result of a systematic neglect of civil rights policy and related educational and community reforms for decades."
Part of the reason is demographic. As the percentage of white students shrinks -- they now make up 56 percent of the school population -- they are more integrated with students who are nonwhite.
Another factor is that residential segregation, on the rise in many parts of the country, increasingly determines the racial composition in schools in the absence of measures by education authorities to create and maintain integrated schools, Orfield said.
At the same time, Orfield said little had been done in recent years to prosecute violations of the Fair Housing Act, which forbids discrimination in the allocation of housing and was set up to foster equality in the housing market.
As a result of the trend, 39 percent of black students and 40 percent of students from the fast-growing Latino minority are increasingly isolated in schools in which there is little racial mixing, the report said.
Evidence that U.S. schools are becoming less racially integrated is politically charged because school integration was a basic goal of the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King in the 1950s and 1960s.
That movement was in part triggered by a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1954 that decreed school segregation in the South was inherently unequal, did irreversible harm to black students and violated the constitution.
The report also found that the average black and Latino student is now in a school that has nearly 60 percent of students from families who are near or below the poverty line.
Schools marked by racial segregation and poverty tend to have weaker teaching forces, more student instability and a higher percentage of students from homes where English is not spoken -- factors that militate against academic achievement.
(Editing by Tom Brown and David Wiessler)
Here is why I find this article disturbing... (I know a lot may not agree, however this is MY blog and therefore am free to speak MY opinion)
I live in a very small town that is a mix of White, Black & Hispanic. However, the larger town near us that our children would go to school is largely Hispanic. My children would HAVE to attend that school district because it is based on where you live. When I was growing up I lived in another small town called Pflugerville. (which is not small anymore) There was also a mixture of different races when I was growing up. Our school district was a very nice one and there were not any "race" issues at all. Pretty much everyone got along. We all went to that school district because, again that is where we lived. When I was in High School there was a very large section 8 housing unit built and we had tons more people move in. They were of all different races. Our High School started going down hill and fast. Why you ask? Well, the new people started writing on walls, spray painting the building, breaking into cars. Were they all one race or another? no. Then they started busing in more kids from other school districts and it got even worse. So, my problem with the above article is that they are making it sound like "white" people are keeping others out. It is not so, you go to school based on where you live. They are busing in more and more people to other school districts and then the kids in that school district suffer for it. Am I saying that all bussed kids are bad? Of course not, but I can tell you from my experience growing up it was HORRIBLE that our school went downhill so fast. Before the bussed kids came in we had a nice mixture of all races and though there were some problems, it was nothing like what was "bussed" into our district. Where as before the busing and section 8 housing started coming into the district a fight was so rare and unheard of that if one did break out the whole school watched it because it NEVER happened. I think there may have been 2 or 3 fights from my freshman-junior years total. My senior year when all the busing in and section 8 people started there were fights DAILY. So, though I wish my children could go to a different school district, I am pretty much stuck with the school district that I live and pay taxes in. Which is the main reason that we plan on home schooling. ** I would also like to add that the town I grew up in was not a "rich" town either, there were plenty of poor people, my family being one of them** I just wish that if they were going to "bus" kids into another district that the kids actually deserve it and not just bus out their thugs and riff raff everywhere else. I would also like to add that from my freshman to junior year there was only 2 girls that were visibly pregnant. My senior year there were over 25 of them.......