"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Apartheid Schooling

With SCOTUS completing the evisceration of Brown v Board of Education with its recent rulings, little stands in the way of the return to apartheid in the U. S, except the outrage of the American population. From the Civil Rights Project:
Report From Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA Asserts Racial Inequality Growing in America's Schools

LOS ANGELES ¬_ The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, one of the nation's leading research centers on issues of civil rights and racial inequality, today released a report examining the growing racial inequality in America's public schools. Offering evidence on how to realize the benefits of integration, the report, Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation and the Need for New Integration Strategies, comes as school districts across the U.S. face the challenge of responding to the U.S. Supreme Court_s new limits on desegregation plans.

Co-authored by Civil Rights Project Co-director, Gary Orfield, and Researcher Chungmei Lee, the report shows that resegregation was accelerating long before the Court's June 2007 decision, particularly in the South, where new 2005-06 school year data shows an historic reversal in the region's desegregation leadership.

"Nearly two decades into the resegregation its earlier decisions helped create, the South is losing its huge gains in race relations in the civil rights era,_ said Orfield. _The country is likely to become even more separate -- shutting out rapidly growing Latino and Black populations from the strong schools and interracial experience they and our communities need if we are to be an economically and socially successful society. This goal is so important that educators and community leaders must find ways to support integrated schools in spite of the new limits."

The report concludes that for the first time in more than three decades, the South no longer has the nation's most integrated schools and desegregation there is in rapid decline. The report also suggests that the frequently proposed use of social class desegregation as an alternative to assignment by race will be unsuccessful because of a declining relationship between segregation by race and poverty.

Additionally, there is a substantial increase in multiracial schools where such policies would be far less likely to help integrate highly segregated black and Latino students. Findings also show that segregation has been increasing in all parts of the country before the recent court decision, largely because of a series of earlier negative rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in the l990s.

Orfield commented on the massive evidence presented in briefs by researchers to the U.S. Supreme Court last fall. That evidence demonstrated the inequalities of segregated schools along with the educational and social gains found in desegregated schools. Orfield described the Court's decision as an "historic blunder ignoring much more powerful evidence than what was before the Court at the time of Brown v. Board of Education, and sending the country back on a path that failed in thousands of communities embracing 'separate but equal' for six decades before Brown."

The report notes that the Supreme Court decision will invalidate many desegregation plans that currently exist outside the South, and points out that a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education to change the racial categorization of students, if adopted, would make it impossible to effectively measure the impact of the Court's decision on school desegregation. It concludes with recommendations for school districts and communities that are trying to preserve racial diversity given the constraints of the Court's new decision.

Additional Key trends:

**White enrollment is down from 80% to 57% of U.S. students from 1968-2005; Latino enrollment has nearly quadrupled.

**The percentage of U.S. students poor enough for free lunch has soared and all groups of students now attend schools with higher percentages of poverty than in the past.

**Latino students are more segregated than black students, but both groups have a very high and growing isolation from whites.

**Asians experience by far the most desegregated schools; whites are the most segregated from other groups.

**There are now ten states where less than half of students statewide are white, and most non-white students live in these states.

**Black students are now the fourth largest minority group in the West, following Whites, Latinos, and Asians. Black students tend to be segregated in schools with more Latinos than fellow blacks.

**There is a powerful relationship between segregation and dropout rates.

**America's large suburban school districts are rapidly becoming more diverse and segregation is rapidly spreading into the suburbs.

The report, based on federal school enrollment data, is the latest of more than twenty reports issued under Professor Orfield since the first in 1976, after the federal government stopped issuing regular reports on the progress of desegregation in the nation's schools. The full text of the report is available at: www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu

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