Demand No. 3 of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was “desegregation of all school districts in 1963.” Fifty years later, we’re still waiting.
And when the nation marks the anniversary of the March on Washington this Wednesday, will the pundits and newscasters even mention this failing? Don’t count on it.
Sure, there are no longer laws that mandate separate schools for blacks and whites. Those were overturned by Brown v. Board of Education, nine years before the march. But as the Civil Rights Project at UCLA has documented, U.S. schools are growing more segregated, not less.
The project’s most recent report, released last fall, showed that segregation of Latino students has increased, especially in the West; and segregation remains high for black students in much of the country, despite reduced racial isolation of neighborhoods.
“It is also double segregation by both race and poverty,” project director Gary Orfield and his fellow authors write. “Nationwide, the typical black student is now in a school where almost two out of every three classmates are low-income.”
Among the report’s most striking findings: 15 percent of black students and 14 percent of Latino students attend “apartheid schools,” where white students are less than 1 percent of the student body. (In Indiana the figure is 10.5 percent for black students).
And segregation matters. “The consensus of nearly 60 years of social science research on the harms of school segregation is clear: separate remains extremely unequal,” the report says. “Schools of concentrated poverty and segregated minority schools are strongly related to an array of factors that limit educational opportunities and outcomes.”
School choice may be making things worse. Continue reading