Segregation is back in US schools

Until 1964 the United States was officially an apartheid society where African Americans faced civil death. Now, it is an unofficial apartheid society, as the following reports demonstrate.

Reuters / Tami Chappell

Reuters | Tami Chappell

RT (May 15) – Sixty years after the Supreme Curt ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, a new university report has found many of the gains of integration have been reversed.

In a report published Thursday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, researchers found that while schools aren’t as segregated as they were before the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, much of the progress that had been made after 1967 has been lost.

According to the Associated Press, just 23 per cent of African American students went to schools that were majority white, a number that hasn’t been lower since 1968.

Meanwhile, more African Americans are attending schools in which they are the majority race than has been recorded in the past few decades. Similarly, more than 50 per cent of Latino students are going to schools in which they are the majority race.

The statistics are even starker in specific states. In New York, Michigan, Maryland, and Illinois, more than 50 per cent of black students attend schools where 90 per cent of the institution is minority. The same is true for Latino students in New York, California, and Texas.

Although there are various explanations for this development, the report’s author, Gary Orfield, said one of the primary reasons for it is housing segregation, which can keep minorities from moving into areas with a larger white presence.

“Neighbourhood schools, when we go back to them, as we have, produce middle-class schools for whites and Asians and segregated high-poverty schools for blacks and Latinos,” he said to the AP.

Another reason, noted by University of Kansas professor John Rury, is that those with the ability to move out of poorer areas to reach better school districts have chosen to do so for many years, leaving behind cash-strapped institutions that sometimes can barely afford to offer basic classes.

For the American Civil Liberties Union’s Dennis Parker, this means fewer opportunities for students to become successful.

“These are the schools that tend to have fewer resources, tend to have teachers with less experience, tend to have people who are teaching outside their area of specialty, and it also denies the opportunities, the contacts and the networking that occur when you’re with people from different socio-economic backgrounds,” he told the AP.

The news comes about a month after a separate report was issued by the Annie E. Case Foundation, which found that African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians faced the most barriers to success in the US, significantly more than Asians and white Americans. As RT reported previously [see below], these barriers were found to exist at birth and get tougher over time.

Regionally, the latest UCLA report had some notable findings as well. As noted by the Huffington Post, it found that schools in the Northeast are “more intensely segregated” than they were before 1968. Elsewhere – the Midwest, West, and Border states – schools are much less segregated than in the 1960s, but more segregated when compared to the 1980s and ‘90s.

Schools in the South, meanwhile, were the least segregated in the US.

“Contrary to many claims, the South has not gone back to the level of segregation before Brown. It has lost all of the additional progress made after 1967 but is still the least segregated region for black students,” the report stated, according to the Post.

The report states that further research is needed to effectively analyze the problem across the US, and the authors pushed President Obama to take the situation seriously. They said the White House has offered “no major encouragement nor incentives for working on integration.”

* * *

Black children still face most barriers in America – study


Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP

Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP

RT (April 1) – Compared to other racial groups in the United States, black children face the most barriers towards success – a gap that’s evident from birth and gets wider over time, a new study says.

Released on Tuesday, the Annie E. Case Foundation report highlights the obstacles facing African Americans, as well as other people of colour, including Hispanics and American Indians, as they grow up in the United States.

The study calculated a group’s success by evaluating data based on 12 different indicators – reading and math proficiency, income levels, graduation rates, and more – and scoring each one on a scale of one to 1,000. According to the Associated Press, the report found that white and Asian Americans experienced significant advantages over people of colour in every region of America.

Specifically, Asian children topped the list with a score of 776, with white Americans not far behind at 704. Scores for American Indians and African Americans were noticeably lower, at 387 and 345, respectively, while Latino children had a composite score of 404.

“We found that the gaps sort of start out relatively small and get bigger over time,” Laura Speer, an associate director at the Casey Foundation, said to the Huffington Post. “Look at the early childhood measures: The gaps between African-Americans, Latinos, whites are relatively small. But in the early childhood years, even a small gap can have a big impact in the long run.”

While the overall composite scores held true across the entire country, some groups did fare better in certain states. As noted by the Post, American Indian children experienced more success in states like California, Michigan, and Texas, but did not fare well in Montana and North Dakota.

African Americans, meanwhile, faced consistently tough obstacles across the country, with the exception of Utah and New Hampshire – an alarming stat the report called “a national crisis.”

Noting that Americans’ future will be largely multicultural thanks to rising minority populations, the report underscored the importance of ensuring children of all backgrounds have the chance to prosper.

“The kids of colour in our country are absolutely critical to the future success of the United States,” Speer told the Post. “They are going to be the majority of our work force and we can’t afford to lose the talent they have and could have in the future behind. We need them to be successful.”

Casey Foundation President Patrick McCarthy told the AP, meanwhile, that the results are “a call to action,” and the report suggested future studies identify the specific problems and suggest solutions.

“The price of letting any group fall behind, already unacceptably high, will get higher,” the report said. “If America is to remain prosperous for generations to come, all children must have a fair chance to succeed.”


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