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Integrating Schools in a Changing Society

Integrating Schools in a Changing Society: New Policies and Legal Options for a Multiracial Generation

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    Integrating Schools in a Changing Society
    Book Description:

    As a result of tremendous social, legal, and political movements after the 1954Brown v. Board of Educationdecision, the South led the nation in school desegregation from the late 1960s through the beginning of the twenty-first century. However, following a series of court cases in the past two decades--including a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that raised potentially strong barriers for districts wishing to pursue integration--public schools in the South and across the nation are now resegregating faster than ever.In this comprehensive volume, a roster of leading scholars in educational policy and related fields offer eighteen essays seeking to illuminate new ways for American public education to counter persistent racial and socioeconomic inequality in our society. Drawing on extensive research, the contributors reinforce the key benefits of racially integrated schools, examine remaining options to pursue multiracial integration, and discuss case examples that suggest how to build support for those efforts. Framed by the editors' introduction and a conclusion by Gary Orfield, these essays engage the heated debates over school reform and advance new arguments about the dangers of resegregation while offering practical, research-grounded solutions to one of the most pressing issues in American education.The contributors are:Courtney Bell, Educational Testing ServiceRobert Bifulco, Syracuse UniversityJohn Charles Boger, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillCasey D. Cobb, University of ConnecticutElizabeth DeBray, University of GeorgiaSarah L. Diem, University of MissouriJacquelyn Duran, Columbia UniversityErica Frankenberg, Pennsylvania State UniversityPatricia Gandara, University of California, Los AngelesEllen Goldring, Vanderbilt UniversityWillis D. Hawley, Univer¬sity of MarylandJennifer Jellison Holme, University of Texas at AustinEric A. Houck, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillJacqueline Jordan Irvine, Emory UniversityRichard D. Kahlenberg, The Century FoundationChinh Q. Le, New Jersey Division on Civil RightsKatherine Cumings Mansfield, University of Texas at AustinGary Orfield, University of California, Los AngelesMyron Orfield, University of MinnesotaDouglas D. Ready, Columbia UniversitySean F. Reardon, Stanford UniversityLori Rhodes, Stanford UniversityJanelle Scott, University of California, BerkeleyGenevieve Siegel-Hawley, University of California, Los AngelesMegan R. Silander, Columbia UniversityClaire Smrekar, Vanderbilt UniversityAmy Stuart Wells, Columbia UniversitySheneka Williams, University of GeorgiaTerrenda White, Columbia University

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0258-5
    Subjects: Education, Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Looking to the Future
    (pp. 1-10)

    Some social commentators and scholars have recently posited that policy makers’ lack of attention to furthering integration—outside of a paean toBrown v. Board of Educationon anniversaries of that milestone decision—demonstrates that desegregation’s time has passed. Other writers, including distinguished legal scholar Derrick Bell, have argued that while school desegregation is a worthy goal, it has become politically unfeasible, particularly in light of demographic realities and legal rulings, the most recent being the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision inParents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (PICS , 2007)striking down two districts’ voluntary...

  5. Part I Where Have We Been and Where Are We Now?

    • Standing at a Crossroads: The Future of Integrated Public Schooling in America
      (pp. 13-31)

      Thirty-five years ago, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote a profound dissenting opinion in the Detroit school desegregation case,Milliken v. Bradley, cautioning that “in the short run, it may seem to be the easier course to allow our great metropolitan areas to be divided up each into two cities—one white, the other black—but it is a course, I predict, our people will ultimately regret.”¹

      Justice Marshall’s perceptive and moving words brought to the American people his gravest of warnings—that the metropolitan regions of the Northeast and North Central states would one day regret turning back on the educational...

    • School Choice as a Civil Right: The Political Construction of a Claim and Its Implications for School Desegregation
      (pp. 32-52)

      Over the past two decades, media outlets, advocates, and advocacy-based researchers have often described school choice as the sole remaining civil rights issue. While there is ideological diversity undergirding the school choice movement, conservative choice adherents typically believe the state should assume a diminished role in the provision of public education, clearing the way for what they argue is a more competitive and accountable private sector to provide educational services. While belief in the superiority of markets is paramount to these choice advocates, they tend to argue that the primary reason to expand school choice is because of its benefits...

    • Integration after Parents Involved: What Does Research Suggest about Available Options?
      (pp. 53-74)

      In the aftermath of separate, lengthy opinions by five members of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Louisville and Seattle voluntary school integration cases, educators in local districts have pondered whether their desegregation policies are legal and what their options are for maintaining racial diversity. In its 4-1-4 decision inParents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1(2007), the Court struck down the use of race as employed in the voluntary school desegregation plans in these districts. However, the Court also allowed for the use of race in some circumstances and affirmed maintaining diverse schools—as...

    • Advancing the Integration Agenda under the Obama Administration and Beyond
      (pp. 75-88)
      CHINH Q. LE

      When it comes to racial and ethnic integration in our nation’s public schools, it matters significantly whether the federal government is friend or foe. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Constitution does not guarantee a fundamental right to education, let alone an equal or racially integrated education.¹ School districts once subject to court-ordered desegregation decrees may emerge from their long history of de jure acts after just a few years of reasonable compliance with formal orders, regardless of whether the compliance resulted in any sustainable desegregation. Even voluntary efforts to provide some modicum of racial integration, once encouraged by...

  6. Part II The Case for Integration

    • School Racial and Ethnic Composition and Young Children’s Cognitive Development: Isolating Family, Neighborhood, and School Influences
      (pp. 91-113)

      Racial and ethnic disparities in cognitive ability are evident even among very young children. Nonwhite and non-Asian students enter kindergarten academically behind their more advantaged peers,¹ and these initial cognitive differences increase as children progress through school.² Myriad explanations have been offered for these differential learning rates, including inequalities in family and neighborhood resources, the persistent associations between race and socioeconomic status, and sociocultural disconnects between home and school environments.³ Another prominent hypothesis—and the focus of this essay—highlights the concentration of minority children in racially and ethnically isolated schools. In this essay we explore the extent to which...

    • Southern Graduates of School Desegregation: A Double Consciousness of Resegregation yet Hope
      (pp. 114-130)

      Recent research on the graduates of school desegregation explores the complicated relationship between how individuals were fundamentally changed by their educational experiences in racially diverse schools and, paradoxically, how little our racially divided society has changed since they were in school, making their adult lives far more segregated.¹ In other words, the story of school desegregation’s graduates illustrates how the dismantling of racial segregation within the public schools was intended to be only one part of a broader social reform. Yet many other parts of that reform, including the War on Poverty, serious fair-housing enforcement, and policies to revive urban...

    • Legally Viable Desegregation Strategies: The Case of Connecticut
      (pp. 131-150)

      In this essay, we consider the impact of two school choice programs explicitly focused on reducing the racial and economic isolation of black and Latino students living in Connecticut’s cities. The programs, interdistrict magnet schools and Open Choice, are particularly relevant in the legal environment sinceParents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1(PICS, 2007) because they appear to adhere to the legal precedents laid out in the PICS decision. Specifically, the programs are designed to integrate students across district lines, which in many regions is crucial for achieving racial integration. The programs are entirely voluntary;...

    • Regional Coalitions and Educational Policy: Lessons from the Nebraska Learning Community Agreement
      (pp. 151-164)

      In May 2007, Nebraska’s governor signed a law requiring 11 public school districts in the Omaha metropolitan area to form a cooperative “Learning Community.” The agreement is distinctive in that it secured the commitment of all 11 school districts across two counties in the Omaha metro area to an interdistrict choice-based socioeconomic desegregation plan without a court order. The plan is also unusual in that it is funded not through a legislative allotment (which can be politically vulnerable) but through a tax-base sharing plan. The Learning Community is governed by a regional governing council charged with implementing the agreement and...

  7. Part III Student Assignment Policy Choices and Evidence

    • Socioeconomic School Integration: Preliminary Lessons from More Than 80 Districts
      (pp. 167-186)

      The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision inParents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1(PICS, 2007) restricting the ability of school districts to use race in student assignment has increased interest in using socioeconomic status, either as an alternative to race or as a supplement in designing integration plans.¹ Proponents argue that economic school-integration plans can indirectly produce racial diversity and increase academic achievement, in a manner that is legally bulletproof.² While the idea of socioeconomic school integration has been discussed since the 1970s, it was not until the early 21st century that school districts began implementing...

    • The Effects of Socioeconomic School Integration Policies on Racial School Desegregation
      (pp. 187-207)

      Given the Supreme Court’s decision inParents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1(PICS, 2007), the use of individual student race in voluntarily adopted school assignment plans (as opposed to court-ordered plans) is no longer legally permissible in most cases.¹ However, because socioeconomic status does not create a protected class under the 14th Amendment, the use of individual socioeconomic status in school assignment plans is legally permissible. Richard Kahlenberg, among others, has argued that socioeconomic integration will produce racial desegregation as a by-product, given the strong correlation between race and socioeconomic status in the United States.²...

    • Is Class Working? Socioeconomic Student Assignment Plans in Wake County, North Carolina, and Cambridge, Massachusetts
      (pp. 208-222)

      Two forces—rapidly changing student demographics and a judicial system largely unreceptive to the implementation of racial desegregation, though not necessarily hostile to its underlying goals¹—have combined to create a challenging environment for school districts interested in pursuing educational equality through voluntary integration policies. One of the by-products of these challenges has been a shift toward integration by socioeconomic status (SES), or assigning students to schools based on some measure of poverty. As districts around the country seek viable legal strategies to maintain voluntary racial integration plans, the notion that poverty status can be used as a means to...

    • Using Geography to Further Racial Integration
      (pp. 223-231)

      In a recent decision regarding the use of voluntary race-conscious school assignment policies in Seattle, Washington, and Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly struck down the practice of using individual students’ race in the school assignment process.¹ The Court’s decision was deeply fractured, lengthy, and has led to considerable confusion for school districts that believe maintaining diverse schools is an important part of their educational mission. The plurality opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, prohibited the individual, race-conscious aspect of the districts’ student assignment policies. Louisville’s plan was considered such because one of the factors determining whether students’...

    • Magnet Schools, MSAP, and New Opportunities to Promote Diversity
      (pp. 232-240)

      Magnet schools are public schools designed to attract parents and students through specialized curricular themes or instructional methods. Unlike traditional public schools that operate with student enrollment linked to specific neighborhood attendance zones, magnet schools enroll students from a wide array of neighborhoods across a school district in order to produce a racially diverse school population. Enrollment is typically managed through a student lottery. Accepted by federal courts in the 1970s as a tool for desegregation, magnet schools have gained popularity over the past several decades as a viable school choice program in desegregation lawsuits and in voluntary efforts to...

  8. Part IV The Pursuit of School-Level Equity

    • Resource Allocation Post–Parents Involved
      (pp. 243-254)

      Students are resources. In addition to the common pedagogical conception that the varied backgrounds of students represent instructional opportunities for teachers, students themselves contribute to the fiscal dynamics of schools. In some cases, the contribution is direct: poor children, for example, bring with them federal Title I dollars. Special-needs students bring additional resources into schools, depending on individual state funding formulas.

      Additionally, recent research indicates that the students in a school can also impact the types of teachers employed there and might—through their peer effects on other students—impact the efficacy of instruction. However, the recent U.S. Supreme Court...

    • Improving Teaching and Learning in Integrated Schools
      (pp. 255-264)

      Effective teachers in racially and ethnically integrated schools, by definition, must be able to facilitate the learning of students who likely are culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse. In many cases, this diversity comes with substantial differences in students’ academic achievement. Indeed, one of the most intractable problems in integrated schools is the test score gap, the difference between the scores of African American, Latino, and Native American students as compared to most white and Asian students.

      Although certain psychological, economic, political, and sociological perspectives explain the underachievement of students of color, convincing data show that the quality of teaching is...

    • Latinos, Language, and Segregation: Options for a More Integrated Future
      (pp. 265-278)

      Latinos are both the largest ethnic minority in the United States and the most segregated group in their schools. The Latino pubic school population nearly doubled in the United States between 1987 and 2007, from 11 percent to 21 percent of all students.¹ Since 1987, it has grown more rapidly than any other group. In fact, during this period, the percentage of public school students who were black declined from 17 percent to 15 percent nationwide.² Thus, while the problem of school segregation has traditionally been cast as an issue of black and white, today Latinos are actually more likely...

  9. Part V Integrated Means toward Integrated Ends:: Broadening Social Policies

    • Federal Legislation to Promote Metropolitan Approaches to Educational and Housing Opportunity
      (pp. 281-301)

      In this essay, we outline a proposal for new federal legislation to create a pilot grant program in selected southern metropolitan areas designed to promote voluntary approaches to expanding access to integrated education and housing. We argue that metropolitanwide solutions are critical to ameliorating school segregation, and we propose a regional combination of housing subsidies and interdistrict school transfers. Drawing on the findings from two housing-relocation programs, the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Program (a court-ordered program referred to as Gautreaux hereafter) and the Moving to Opportunity program (authorized by federal legislation), as well as the experiences of existing school-transfer programs, we...

    • Linking Housing and School Integration to Growth Management
      (pp. 302-313)

      School desegregation efforts are presently being dismantled. Where they are occurring, they are unlikely to be related to housing desegregation efforts. To the extent that white suburbs are today building affordable housing, this is much more likely to be occurring under growth management law than civil rights law. It is time to renew the civil rights commitment to integration in housing and schools and to link those efforts both to one another and to a growing movement toward growth management or “Smart Growth.”

      In the early 1970s, federal antisegregation policies for schools and housing tentatively began to move forward together....

    • Conclusion: Returning to First Principles
      (pp. 314-326)

      Working on civil rights usually means sailing against the wind. The wind has been blowing harshly toward the shoals of resegregation for nearly two decades. The social scientists and legal scholars writing in this book tell us that there will be grave consequences if that continues, and that there are ways to reverse course and head back toward the goal of an integrated society. They say this in a period in which segregation has been steadily growing in all parts of the country.

      Segregation and inequality are basic parts of the American story and usually have been silently accepted as...

  10. Contributors
    (pp. 327-330)
  11. Index
    (pp. 331-341)