Segregation in US Schools

Project Censored released their Top 25 Censored Stories for 2010 list. There is always a story or two that my left leaning, media junkie self managed not to come across during the year.

This year, there was only one: “US Schools are More Segregated Today then in the 1950s.” I’d heard the stat but dismissed it as incorrect or unreliable despite never making any attempts to determine its accuracy. Looks like I was wrong to do so.

The Civil Rights Project at UCLA found that 2 in 5 black or Latino students go to “intensely segregated schools.” The student also found that great deal of the segregation occurs in Western states, not the South. In California, “half of blacks and Asians attend segregated schools, as do one quarter of Latino and Native American students.” The problem stems from minorities moving into suburban communities which had very small minority populations in the civil rights era. These schools/districts thus do not have desegregation orders. The segregation problem extends to rural communities. These communities, which in the past housed the most fervent racists, have a vast majority of rural white students attending schools that are made mostly or entirely of white students.

The problem is not just that the schools are lacking diversity. The students who attend rural or minority populated schools often fair far worse than their peers in other schools. They are usually lower income populations and do not get as much attention from college recruiters (and probably more attention from military recruiters). The teachers tend to be lower paid and of lower quality and student services tend to be worse.

We have failed as a nation to support our children – unless they are upper middle class white kids – despite court orders to do so.

Between segregating our schools and denying rights to homosexuals, we – as a nation – are utterly failing to provide a decent existence for large portions of our population. Much like gay rights, the lack of support for minority students seems to stem from a nostalgia for the good ole days when it, as David Cross says, “stay(ed) white out later.”  It is disturbing that the only attributes you need to be successful in the US are ones you’re born with (straight, white, and wealthy). As evidenced by the failure of Brown v. Board of Education, you cannot compel people to do the right thing through legal actions. I am holding out hope that shame still has some pull.

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About Sylvia Fredericks

Second-Year MPA student at the La Follette School for Public Affairs (University of Wisconsin - Madison)
This entry was posted in Civil Rights, education, Ethics, National, News, Politics, Social and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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