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Racial, Socioeconomic Segregation Still Rampant in Schools

The impact and history of racial segregation in America is well documented. It has moved in theory from the 1896, the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case that determined that “separate but equal” was constitutional, to the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson and ruled that segregation was “inherently unequal.”

Although segregation is no longer the law, it is still a very real part of American society, particularly in education where the Brown v. Board of Education decision was supposed to obviate such practices.

A study based on a new analysis of Department of Education data shows that whites are still largely concentrated in schools with other whites, and that black and Latino students tend to be in classrooms mostly with other blacks and Latinos. The report was authored by Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Orefield suggest that “Extreme segregation is becoming more common” in America.

The reported noted that across the nation, 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of blacks attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white, according to the report released Sept. 26 by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. Moreover it concluded that blacks and Latinos are twice as likely as white or Asian students to attend schools with a substantial majority of poor children. In fact, more than one in seven black and Latino students attend schools where fewer than 1 percent of their classmates are white based on enrollment data from 2009-2010.

States such as California, New York and Texas, and cities including include Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington demonstrated the most defined patterns of racial segregation.

The report’s authors are critical of the Obama administration’s failure to pursue integration policies, and noted that the administration’s support of charter schools was helping create “the most segregated sector of schools for black students.”