The Nation’s Most Segregated Schools Aren’t Where You’d Think They’d Be
The Huffington Post reports that the “nation’s most segregated schools aren’t in the deep south — they’re in New York”. This was from a report released earlier this year by the UCLA Civil Rights Project.
That means that in 2009, black and Latino students in New York “had the highest concentration in intensely-segregated public schools,” in which white students made up less than 10 percent of enrollment and “the lowest exposure to white students,” wrote John Kucsera, a UCLA researcher, and Gary Orfield, a UCLA professor and the project’s director. “For several decades, the state has been more segregated for blacks than any Southern state, though the South has a much higher percent of African American students,” the authors wrote. The report, “New York State’s Extreme School Segregation,” looked at 60 years of data up to 2010, from various demographics and other research.
There’s also a high level of “double segregation,” Orfield said in an interview, as students are increasingly isolated not only by race, but also by income: the typical black or Latino student in New York state attends a school with twice as many low-income students as their white peers. That concentration of poverty brings schools disadvantages that mixed-income schools often lack: health issues, mobile populations, entrenched violence and teachers who come from the least selective training programs. “They don’t train kids to work in a society that’s diverse by race and class,” he said. “There’s a systematically unequal set of demands on those schools.”
New York City schools are the most segregated.
… Of the city’s 32 Community School Districts, 19 had 10 percent or fewer white students in 2010. All school districts in the Bronx fell into that category. More than half of New Yorkers are black or Latino, but most neighborhoods have little diversity — and recent changes in school enrollment policies, spurred by the creation of many charter schools, haven’t helped, Orfield argues.
Charter schools tend to be extremely segregated.
Only 8 percent of New York City charter schools are considered multiracial, meaning they had a white enrollment of 14.5 percent or above, the New York City average. “Charter schools take the metro’s segregation to an extreme,” according to the report. “Nearly all charters” in the Bronx and Brooklyn were “intensely segregated” in 2010, meaning they had less than 10 percent white student enrollment….
… Charter schools in urban areas tend to be segregated, in part, because they seek to serve specific low-income communities. Some intentionally cater to one race, with a focus on black culture.
Illinois, Michigan, Maryland and New Jersey followed New York on the most-segregated-schools list.
Segregation may be the least of the problems faced by schools.
I don’t think segregation is the biggest problem schools must face. In many cases, as charter schools show, segregation is simply the result of a school’s mission to serve a particular type of student. Furthermore, past attempts at desegregation have often failed to meet their goals but instead created new problems for minority students. I’ve seen firsthand desegregation attempts that created white flight and left urban schools in worse shape than before.