School Segregation On The Rise: Report

Matthew Bigg, Reuters, August 29, 2007

Public schools in the United States are becoming more racially segregated and the trend is likely to accelerate because of a Supreme Court decision in June, according to report published on Wednesday.

The rise in segregation threatens the quality of education received by non-white students, who now make up 43 percent of the total U.S. student body, said the report by the Civil Rights Project of the University of California.

Many segregated schools struggle to attract teachers and administrators who are highly qualified, do not offer good preparation for college and fail to graduate more than half their students.

The Supreme Court in its June ruling forbade most existing voluntary local efforts to integrate schools in a decision favored by the Bush administration despite warnings from academics that it would compound educational inequality.

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“Resegregation . . . is continuing to grow in all parts of the country for both African Americans and Latinos and is accelerating the most rapidly in the only region that had been highly desegregated—the South,” it said.

The trend damages the prospects for non-white students and will likely have a negative effect on the U.S. economy, according to the report by one of the leading U.S. research centers on issues of civil rights and racial inequality.

Part of the reason for the resegregation trend is the rapidly expanding number of black and Latino children and a corresponding fall in the number of white children, it said.

Contrary to popular belief, the surge in the number of minority children in public schools was not mainly caused by a flight of white students into private schools.

Instead, it said, the post-“baby boom” generation of white Americans are having smaller family sizes.

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