Amanda Poulson has a good piece in the Christian Science Monitor (to me via Alternet) about the fact that our educational system increasingly looks like the segregated system of the pre-Brown vs. Board of Education era. Poulson’s article is about a new report on the re-segregation of education.
“The most segregated schools, according to the report, which documents desegregation trends, are in big cities of the Northeast and Midwest. The South and West — and rural areas and small towns generally — offer minority students a bit more diversity.”
The organization that conducted the study, The Civil Rights Project (at UCLA) found some disturbing trends in the nation’s educational system:
“It’s getting to the point of almost absolute segregation in the worst of the segregated cities – within one or two percentage points of what the Old South used to be like,” says Gary Orfield, codirector of the Civil Rights Project and one of the study’s authors. “The biggest metro areas are the epicenters of segregation. It’s getting worse for both blacks and Latinos, and nothing is being done about it.”
About one-sixth of black students and one-ninth of Latino students attend what Mr. Orfield calls “apartheid schools,” at least 99 percent minority. In big cities, black and Latino students are nearly twice as likely to attend such schools. Some two-thirds of black and Latino students in big cities attend schools with less than 10 percent white students; in rural areas, about one-seventh of black and Latino students do. Although the South was the region that originally integrated the most successfully, it’s beginning to resegregate…”
Fifty years ago, there was a social movement that took as one of its fundamental tenets that integration was a good thing and something worth fighting for. It remains to be seen if, in the current political and economic context, a new movement will take up this cause.