Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Integration: A dream that's dying

A 1950s' stamp honoring desegragation.
Decades after the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation, U.S. schools lack true integration, note sociologists Amanda Lewis, at Emory University, and John Diamond, at Harvard. They co-wrote an opinion piece on the topic for the Huffington Post. Following is an excerpt:

“Recent reports by the U.S. Department of Education and UCLA's Civil Rights Project describe alarming segregation levels for both Latino and black students nationally, with most attending schools that are majority non-white and almost 40 percent of both groups attending schools that are more than 90 percent non-white. Most experience ‘double segregation’ -- attending schools that are segregated by race and class. While most white children, even poor white children, don't attend high-poverty schools, most black and brown children, even middle-class ones, do. And high-poverty schools almost always lag behind in measures of resources and success -- they have less experienced and qualified teachers, more decrepit buildings, less access to technology and advanced curricula, and few or outdated textbooks.

“Beyond this lies a more obscured truth: Even ‘desegregated,’ schools are typically not truly integrated. Manifesting what social scientists call ‘second-generation segregation,’ these schools are re-segregated internally through ability grouping or tracking. In the post-Brown v. Board of Ed era, tracking has become what UNC sociologist Karolyn Tyson describes in her book Integration Interrupted as a ‘legally permissible way to separate students by race.’ And tracking matters.

“Decades of research has found vast differences in the quality of education in high and low tracks and shows that poor and minority students are placed disproportionately in the bottom groups or lower tracks.”

Read the whole article in the Huffington Post.

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Racial segregation fuels achievement gap in U.S. schools


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