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School Resegregation

School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back?

John Charles Boger
Gary Orfield
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    School Resegregation
    Book Description:

    Confronting a reality that many policy makers would prefer to ignore, contributors to this volume offer the latest information on the trend toward the racial and socioeconomic resegregation of southern schools. In the region that has achieved more widespread public school integration than any other since 1970, resegregation, combined with resource inequities and the current "accountability movement," is now bringing public education in the South to a critical crossroads.In thirteen essays, leading thinkers in the field of race and public education present not only the latest data and statistics on the trend toward resegregation but also legal and policy analysis of why these trends are accelerating, how they are harmful, and what can be done to counter them. What's at stake is the quality of education available to both white and nonwhite students, they argue. This volume will help educators, policy makers, and concerned citizens begin a much-needed dialogue about how America can best educate its increasingly multiethnic student population in the twenty-first century.Contributors:Karen E. Banks, Wake County Public School System, Raleigh, N.C.John Charles Boger, University of North Carolina School of LawErwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law SchoolCharles T. Clotfelter, Duke UniversitySusan Leigh Flinspach, University of California, Santa CruzErica Frankenberg, Harvard Graduate School of EducationCatherine E. Freeman, U.S. Department of EducationJay P. Heubert, Teachers College, Columbia UniversityJennifer Jellison Holme, University of California, Los AngelesMichal Kurlaender, Harvard Graduate School of EducationHelen F. Ladd, Duke UniversityLuis M. Laosa, Kingston, N.J.Jacinta S. Ma, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity CommissionRoslyn Arlin Mickelson, University of North Carolina at CharlotteGary Orfield, Harvard Graduate School of EducationGregory J. Palardy, University of Georgiajohn a. powell, Ohio State UniversitySean F. Reardon, Stanford UniversityRussell W. Rumberger, University of California, Santa BarbaraBenjamin Scafidi, Georgia State UniversityDavid L. Sjoquist, Georgia State UniversityJacob L. Vigdor, Duke UniversityAmy Stuart Wells, Teachers College, Columbia UniversityJohn T. Yun, University of California, Santa Barbara

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0512-8
    Subjects: Education, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction. The Southern Dilemma:Losing Brown, Fearing Plessy
    (pp. 1-26)

    The Supreme Court’s 1954 decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional directly threatened the South’s social traditions. After Reconstruction was dismantled in the 1870s and 1880s, the South gained the right to manage race relations as it wished. It built a comprehensive system of racial separation, a system legitimized by the Supreme Court in the 1896Plessy v. Ferguson“separate but equal” decision. But then, inBrown v. Board of Education, the Court said that this system of mandatory racial segregation was illegitimate. To its advocates,Brownpromised a new day in which the color lines at the heart of all major...

  5. PART 1 The History of the Federal Judicial Role:: From Brown to Green to Color-Blind

    • CHAPTER ONE The Segregation and Resegregation of American Public Education: The Courts’ Role
      (pp. 29-48)

      A half century of efforts to end school segregation have largely failed. Gary Orfield’s powerful recent study,Schools More Separate: Consequences of a Decade of Resegregation, carefully documents that during the 1990s, America’s public schools have become substantially more segregated. In the South, for example, he shows that from “1988 to 1998, most of the progress of the previous two decades in increasing integration in the region was lost. The South is still more integrated than it was before the civil rights revolution, but it is moving backward at an accelerating rate.”¹

      The statistics presented in his study are stark....

  6. PART 2 The Color of Southern Schooling:: Contemporary Trends

    • CHAPTER TWO Integrating Neighborhoods, Segregating Schools: The Retreat from School Desegregation in the South, 1990 – 2000
      (pp. 51-69)

      After decades as the most successfully integrated schools in the United States, the schools of the South appear to be moving slowly toward resegregation. During the 1990s, public schools throughout the South became increasingly segregated. Black-white public school segregation, in particular, increased in almost every state in the South from 1990 to 2000. Indeed, black-white school segregation increased in more than three-quarters of the one hundred counties in the South with the largest black student enrollments.

      In this chapter, we describe these trends in public school segregation in the South. We then examine the relationship between residential and school segregation...

    • CHAPTER THREE Classroom-Level Segregation and Resegregation in North Carolina
      (pp. 70-86)

      In the two decades following the momentousBrown v. Board of Educationdecision, the South’s public schools underwent an astounding transformation. Whereas all of its public schools had been strictly segregated by race in 1954, they had become by 1974 the nation’s most racially integrated schools.¹ In North Carolina, official resistance to desegregation initially forestalled all but token integration as late as 1960, but subsequent federal court orders and increased local compliance transformed it by 1980 into the most integrated state in the South and one of the most integrated states in the nation.²

      In this chapter we document two...

    • CHAPTER FOUR The Incomplete Desegregation of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Its Consequences, 1971 – 2004
      (pp. 87-110)

      Advocates look to desegregation as the touchstone to equality of educational opportunity. Critics call it a failed social experiment.¹ As judicial mandates to desegregate end across the country, the history and consequences of desegregation in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) offer us the opportunity to assess the contributions of desegregation and segregation to racial differences in student achievement. From 1971 to 2002, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community grappled with the mandate ofSwann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg(1971) to provide equality of educational opportunities to all children. CMS employed mandatory busing (from roughly 1969 through 2002) or controlled choice among magnet schools (from 1992 to...

    • CHAPTER FIVE School Segregation in Texas at the Beginning of the Twenty-first Century
      (pp. 111-124)

      The increasing size and diversity of the population of the state of Texas — particularly when considered in regard to the distribution of children among schools by ethnorace, home language, and socioeconomic status — pose serious questions and challenges for educational policy and practice in the state and generally for the nation. These issues include those concerning school segregation. During the past three decades, changes have occurred in the levels of ethnoracial segregation of students in Texas. Gary Orfield reported the following trends. From 1970 to 1980, the level of isolation of Hispanic/Latino students from white non-Hispanic students in Texas decreased slightly;...

  7. PART 3 The Adverse Impacts of Resegregation

    • CHAPTER SIX Does Resegregation Matter?: The Impact of Social Composition on Academic Achievement in Southern High Schools
      (pp. 127-147)

      The issue of school segregation came to the forefront of education policy when, in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the de jure segregation of schools was unconstitutional because it was “inherently un equal.”¹ Subsequent litigation and federal legislation, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s, led to increased racial integration, especially in the South. For example, the percentage of blacks in the South who attended white majority elementary and secondary schools increased from 2.3 percent in 1964 to 43.5 percent in 1988.²

      But over the past twenty years, desegregation policies have been largely abandoned because of declining support for...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Racial Segregation in Georgia Public Schools, 1994 – 2001: Trends, Causes, and Impact on Teacher Quality
      (pp. 148-163)

      Despite the significant increase in black-white integration in public education between 1954 and 1988, there is evidence that public schools in the southeastern United States are reversing this trend and becoming more racially segregated.¹ Any decrease in integration is problematic, especially if it harms the educational opportunities available to minority students.

      This chapter provides analyses of recent trends in black-white segregation across public elementary schools in Georgia, of the causes of this segregation, and of how school segregation affects the characteristics of teachers who serve black students. We find that racial segregation across schools in Georgia is high and that...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT The Impact of School Segregation on Residential Housing Patterns: Mobile, Alabama, and Charlotte, North Carolina
      (pp. 164-184)

      A number of recent key school-assignment cases handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court have pointedly declined to address residential segregation when ruling on whether a district has dismantled its system of separate and unequal schools. Schooling and residential patterns of racial segregation, however, are demonstrably interconnected. Segregated neighborhoods often create segregated schools because of a basic feature of many school-assignment policies: schools most commonly draw students from the immediate geographic region. When students are assigned to schools based on neighborhoods, segregated neighborhoods result in segregated schools. Moreover, officials often draw school boundaries (as well as other boundaries, such as...

  8. PART 4 The New Pressures from Standardized Testing

    • CHAPTER NINE No Accountability for Diversity: Standardized Tests and the Demise of Racially Mixed Schools
      (pp. 187-211)

      Over the past two decades, we have witnessed two overlapping trends in education: an increase in racially segregated schools, and an unprecedented rise in the use of standardized tests to hold both educators and students accountable for higher levels of achievement. While the relationship between these two trends is unclear and may be more coincidental than causal, we argue that the accountability movement, which has mandated more and more student testing and an increased emphasis on school rankings according to test scores, has significantly narrowed the definition of school quality in a way that works against racial diversity in education....

    • CHAPTER TEN High-Stakes Testing, Nationally and in the South: Disparate Impact, Opportunity to Learn, and Current Legal Protections
      (pp. 212-236)

      This chapter focuses on “high-stakes” tests, defined here as tests that states and school districts use in deciding whether individual students will receive high school diplomas or be promoted to the next grade. It places the South’s graduation and promotion test programs into the context of such testing nationally. It also considers how federal law, including the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA), both of which emphasizesystemaccountability (for states, school districts, and schools), may influence state and district assessment programs that instead have high stakes for...

  9. PART 5 The Uncertain Future

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN The Future of Race-Conscious Policies in K – 12 Public Schools: Support from Recent Legal Opinions and Social Science Research
      (pp. 239-260)

      As other chapters of this book have discussed in greater detail, racial patterns in the public schools have changed dramatically since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision inBrown v. Board of Education. We are more than a decade into a period in which federal courts are declaring many school districts unitary and dismantling long-running and very successful desegregation plans. The massive gains in racial integration at public schools that have occurred across the South are indeed at great risk. Although evidence demonstrates that the public schools in the South are rapidly resegregating — even as segregation continues to grow in other...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Moving beyond Race: Socioeconomic Diversity as a Race-Neutral Approach to Desegregation in the Wake County Schools
      (pp. 261-280)

      This chapter draws on a study of diversity and achievement in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS).¹ The school system has a reputation for high-quality, high-achieving schools and, following an era of race-based school desegregation, for preserving school diversity through a race-neutral approach to student assignment. The Wake County district includes Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. A metropolitan area with cities, suburbs, and farms, Wake County is 72 percent white and has mostly middleclass families.² In 2002 – 3, its school system was the twenty-seventh largest in the nation, 67 percent larger than the Boston Public Schools and 78...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN A New Theory of Integrated Education: True Integration
      (pp. 281-304)

      Fifty years ago,Brown v. Board of Educationrecognized public education as fundamental to good citizenship. More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged it as “pivotal to ‘sustaining our political and cultural heritage’ with a fundamental role in maintaining the fabric of society.”¹ Every state makes education compulsory, and it is usually the largest single item in a state’s budget, for what other institution plays such a vital role in preparing individuals, workers, and citizens for life in our complex and diverse nation? This role is radically undermined, however, by racial and economic segregation. Indeed, it is not an overstatement...

  10. Conclusion. Brown and the American South: Fateful Choices
    (pp. 305-328)

    The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision inBrown v. Board of Educationhas prompted five decades of intense struggle over the future of American public education and, more deeply, over the meaning of the nation’s commitment to equality under the law. Despite subsequent disappointments, failures, and partial measures in implementingBrown, nothing has diminished either its central insight that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” or its implicit holding that African Americans and other nonwhites are constitutionally entitled to and must be afforded the full measure of American citizenship from the nation’s courts and other public institutions.

    Yet many of the...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 329-360)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 361-364)
  13. Index
    (pp. 365-380)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 381-381)