Science & Tech

School segregation on the rise despite growing diversity

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Nearly 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared Southern segregated schools to be unconstitutional, resegregation is happening again. And it is occurring despite the nation’s growing diversity. According to Gary Orfield, co-director of The Civil Rights Project and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, resegregation is contributing to a growing gap in quality between the schools being attended by white students and those serving a large proportion of minority students. Census data show that, increasingly, there will be entire metropolitan areas and states with either no majority group or where the majority group will be Latino or African American. This will be a new experience in American educational history. Researchers at The Civil Rights Project recommend several policy actions, including the following, in order to curb racial and ethnic polarization and educational inequalities: 1) Expansion of the federal magnet school program and the imposition of similar desegregation requirements for federally supported charter schools. 2) Active support by private foundations and community groups of efforts to continue local desegregation plans and programs, through research, advocacy and litigation.