New Report Shows Rising Segregation in Schools

A new report has found that segregation in public schools has been on the rise for the past few decades. The report titled “Harming Our Common Future: America's Segregated Schools 65 Years after Brown” was released on May 10. The study, conducted by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA with the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Pennsylvania State University, found that the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act led to increased desegregation for Black students, but segregation began to increase again in the 1990s. The findings of the report come 65 years after the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional.

“These trends matter for students, and for communities whose futures are determined by how the public schools prepare their students for a diverse future. Research shows that segregation has strong, negative relationships with the achievement, college success, long-term employment, and income of students of color. At a time of dramatic demographic transformation, the implications of these trends and research are important for us to address,” the report stated. The report found that white and Latinx students make up the most segregated groups. White students attend schools where 69 percent of the student population is white, while students who are Latinx tend to go to schools where the population is 55 percent Latinx. Segregation for Black students, who make up 15 percent of enrollment, is currently rising in the US and attend schools that average 47 percent of Black students, according to the report.

The report found that suburban public schools only had a 47 percent white student population, which saw a ten percent decrease over the last decade. Despite this, the study notes there is still segregation in public schools in suburban areas. “There was considerable segregation within the suburbs, where both African American and Latinx students typically attended schools that were about three-fourths nonwhite. White students in these same large suburbs attended schools where two-thirds of the enrollment was white students, on average,” the report stated.

Public schools in rural areas across the US also showed a large difference in segregation. The average white student attended a school where 80 percent of students were white while Black and Latinx students went to rural schools where there was 57 percent nonwhite enrollment, the report found.

The report also found that liberal leaning states like New York, California, Maryland, and Illinois are still the most segregated in the US for African American students. It found that 65 percent of African American students in New York attended “intensely segregated minority schools.” The report also stated that California is the most segregated school for Latinx students, who make up 58 percent of “intensely segregated schools.”

In March, a New York Times report found that Black students make up a very small percentage of the population at selective elite public schools in New York City. The report found that in schools like Stuyvesant High School, only seven Black students were admitted to the freshman class of 895. The Bronx High School of Science, another school in New York City, offered only 12 admission slots to Black students this year, The Times reported.

The researchers of the report recommended that to combat segregation in schools, there should be federal government programs in place to help bring integration to schools and federally fund research on the most effective strategies to do so.

“Segregation can only be countered by information and successful plans involving more than the school districts, including housing, transportation, and other local and regional government agencies and private partners,” the report states. “The choice we face now is about what kind of communities and society we want to have.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.