Schools in Michigan Remain Segregated, Findings Show

Christine MacDonald, Detroit News, Feb. 15, 2006

Black and white students aren’t attending school together any more than they did 12 years ago, even with the addition of charter and school choice policies, according to a Michigan State University study.

The analysis indicates Michigan is no closer to shedding its designation as having the most segregated schools in the nation.

Nearly 60 percent of the state’s African-American students are in predominantly black schools, a number that has stayed relatively consistent since 1992, according to the report from MSU’s Education Policy Center.

At the same time, the number of racially segregated school buildings has increased by almost 50 percent to 431 schools statewide, primarily due to the opening of charters schools.

“You would think after 50 years we would see some progress,” said David Plank, co-director of the Education Policy Center. “In Michigan, there hasn’t been any progress.

“Parents are moving their students from racially segregated (traditionally public) schools to racially segregated charters.”

Close to 75 percent of black students in Michigan attend segregated schools, which would mean the schools are more than 80 percent black, according to the report.

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Plank said he is surprised that the integration of schools, which has been such a prominent issue for the last 50 years, has fallen off the map.

“This is an issue we simply don’t talk about anymore,” Plank said.

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