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School segregation - Essay Example

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School segregation was ruled unconstitutional in 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declares that "separate cannot be equal." Yet progress toward school desegregation peaked in the late 1980s, according to a study by the Harvard Civil Rights Project, and , there has been an opposite trend through the last 15 years…
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Download file to see previous pages By the 1970's attention focused on trying to desegregate elementary and high schools. Here a problem arose, for if schools were blind to race, then the racial mixture of the student body should parallel the racial percentages of the community. Consequently, as school districts might not necessarily be segregated, they could easily be a larger percentage of a certain ethnicity, schools were hardly heterogeneous. If nothing else, wealthier communities frequently had, if not necessarily better education, then certainly more access to updated teaching supplies. To overcome this inequality, federal and local governments promoted "court-ordered busing", known as "forced busing" by detractors. This essentially distributed students sometimes miles away from their home, and frequently by several much closer schools, in order to create a balanced integration over the widest number of school districts. This program met with varying levels of success, yet remained effective through the '70's up until the late '90's. The desegregation is said to have peaked with the federal overturning of mandatory busing in 1991, directly due to a large migration of Caucasians to suburbs, the creation of magnet and charter schools, and larger enrollment in private schools. While magnet and charter schools can draw students to otherwise minority oriented neighborhoods, their degree of integration ultimately boils down to the selection process.
The Harvard Civil Rights Project claims that the largest focus of segregated schools is now in the Midwest, with schools in the Northeast following behind them. Re-segregation has been addressed most recently because of proposed laws in Omaha, Nebraska, which would divide the school districts into three segregations: black, white, and latino. Ernie Chambers, Nebraska's only African American State Senator, claims that the proposed law, which would go into effect in 2008, would "let minority-led school boards run the schools that educate minority children since white-run schools have failed to improve black and Latino graduation rates and reduce dropouts nationwide" The law would simultaneously erase the integration busing has established, which has returned to racially predominant segregations since the end of busing, according to Jonathan Kozol author of Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America. His statistics indicate that by the academic year 2000-2001,in 87 percent of public school enrollment in Chicago was black or Hispanic while less than 10 percent of children in the schools were white. Other cities revealed similar trends: Philadelphia and Cleveland were 78 % black or Hispanic, 84% in Los Angeles, 88% in Baltimore, and nearly 75% in New York City, respectively. John Jackson, education director for the NAACP, interprets the busing reversal this way: "The implications are the same as in the '50s: Minority students in high poverty areas are not getting a quality education."
Why should the public be concerned by school integration Firstly, because segregated schools perpetuate inequalities in learning abilities and widen the gaps in academic success for children of different race. The UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research finds that "Test scores, college attendance rates, and employment outcomes have been found to improve for students from integrated schools ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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