Greater Segregation for Region’s Black, Latino Students

Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea, WBEZ (Chicago), June 27, 2012

For white students in suburban Chicago, school has become a much more diverse place in the last 20 years. But the region has seen a jump during that time in the number of highly segregated black and Latino schools, a new WBEZ analysis shows.

Half of all African American students in the region still go to school in what sociologists would consider “extreme segregation,” in schools where 90 percent or more of students are African American. Twenty-two percent of all Latino public school students in the eight-county region go to highly segregated schools, a proportion that is growing in the city and the suburbs.

WBEZ compared school demographics from 20 years ago and today for our series Race: Out Loud. {snip}

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WBEZ’s analysis shows a stark resegregation of the city’s schools:

►The number of Chicago public schools that are 90 percent or more black has increased in the last 20 years, from 276 to 287. That’s despite a 57,000-student drop in black enrollment in the district.

►71.0 percent of all CPS black students go to extremely racially isolated schools. In 20 years, that figure has inched down only negligibly, from 73.4 percent.

►The number of racially isolated Hispanic schools is up, from 26 to 84. Thirty-nine percent of all CPS Hispanic students go to extremely racially isolated schools. This is up from 20 years ago, when 17 percent of Hispanics went to such schools.

►White students have become more concentrated. There are now seven schools that are at least 70 percent white; 20 years ago there were none.

►The number of “integrated” schools—schools where no one race makes up more than 50 percent of the student body—has taken a nosedive, from 106 schools in 1990 to 66 schools today. “No majority” schools used to make up 17.5 percent of all city schools. Today the proportion is just 9.8 percent.

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The demographic shifts have occurred even though a student’s school assignments now depend far less on kids’ addresses and far more on parental choice than in the past.

Many of the city’s newest schools are highly segregated. The overwhelming majority of charter schools that opened in the last 20 years are extremely racially isolated.

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Another WBEZ finding: a dramatic decrease in the number of extremely white schools.

In 1990, a third of schools in the metro area were 90 percent or more white. Today, just 4 percent are. The number of overwhelmingly white schools dropped from 562 to 103.

At the same time, the number of schools where no one race holds a majority has grown across the suburbs. The number of such schools more than quadrupled—from 58 to 280.

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Number of Chicago land schools that are . . .

  20 years ago   Today
1989-90 2009-10
Number of Chicagoland schools that are:
At least 90% Black 309 343
At least 70% Black 380 451
At least 50% Black 466 534
At least 90% Hispanic 27 114
At least 70% Hispanic 83 290
At least 50% Hispanic 142 449
At least 90% White 562 103
At least 70% White 1001 590
At least 50% White 1217 955
At least 90% Asian 0 0
At least 70% Asian 0 1
At least 50% Asian 0 3
“No Majority” (no racial group has more than 50 percent) 164 346
Total number of schools 1990 2287

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