Beyond Brown v Board of Education
Also returning to my last email, below are some additional articles on the return of school segregation, which I believe is a calamity – NOT because I think poor/minority kids need to sit next to rich/white kids to learn, but because I'm a realist: rich/white parents in this country have the political power to demand – and get – mostly good schools for their children, whereas that isn't the case for poor/minority parents and children. I also don't think it's healthy for our democracy for our schools to be so segregated.
The data around resegregation is shocking – here's an excerpt from Peter Meyer's article below:
According to Jeff Larson, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Mike Tigas of ProPublica, for instance, "From 1993 to 2011, the number of black students in schools where 90 percent or more of the student population are minorities rose from 2.3 million to over 2.9 million."
The numbers were real. And much of the "retreat" on integration, according to CRP [Civil Rights Project at UCLA], certainly seemed to be due to the abandonment of court orders that many school districts had been forced to follow as a result of failures to integrate their schools. "Segregation increased substantially after desegregation plans were terminated in many large districts including Charlotte, NC; Pinellas County, FL; and Henrico County, VA," says CRP.
The percentage of black southern students in "majority white" schools went from zero percent in 1954 to 43.5 percent in 1988. That was the high point; the percentage has since dropped to 23.2 percent. Thus the "long retreat." According to CRP, "The steady retrenchment of desegregation efforts began two decades after Brown and has now run twice as long as the period in which the Supreme Court announced and extended desegregation rights (1954-1974).
However, Meyer argues that the focus on desegregation is misguided – that we should instead focus on a high-quality education for all children:
"Segregation is not the main issue any longer," Sylvester James Jr., mayor of Kansas City, MO, told Education Week. Kansas City schools have operated under a desegregation order for decades, during which time the district population plummeted, according to Ed Week, from 77,000 in the late 1960s to 13,000 today, 90 percent of them poor, 60 percent black, 28 percent Hispanic, and less than 10 percent white. (See also here.) "Access to high-quality education is tied just as hard, and just as fast, to poverty and socioeconomics as it was to race."
…But the bottom line, moving forward, seems to suggest that instead of closeting our children with a view of segregation that depends on one groups feelings of inferiority to sustain the raison d'etre of diversity, perhaps it's time to embrace, in the spirit of DuBois, schools that offer, first and foremost, a good education.
It may be that today's most salient argument for equality does not engage with racial psychologies but, i