Science & Tech

A multiracial society with segregated schools

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Study asks: Are we losing the dream?

The nation’s public schools are becoming steadily more nonwhite, as the minority student enrollment approaches 40 percent of all U.S. public school students, almost twice the share of minority school students during the 1960s. Almost half of all public school students in the West and the South are minority students. The desegregation of black students, which increased continuously from the l950s to the late l980s, has now receded to levels not seen in three decades, according to a study from the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, “A Multiracial Society with Segregated Schools: Are We Losing the Dream?” Black students are experiencing the most rapid resegregation in the South, triggered by Supreme Court decisions in the 1990s, and have now lost all progress recorded since the 1960s. “Martin Luther King’s dream is being honored in theory and dishonored in the decisions and practices that are turning our schools back to segregation,” said Gary Orfield, professor of education and social policy and co-director of the Civil Rights Project at Harvard.