Segregation in Buffalo Schools Has Returned to Early 1970s Levels

Mary Pasciak, Buffalo News, April 5, 2014

The Buffalo Public Schools are just as segregated now as they were in the 1970s, essentially reversing the results of an integration program that once was heralded as a national model.

About 70 percent of the city’s schools were considered segregated in 1972, when parents filed the lawsuit that prompted a federal judge to order the district to desegregate.

Despite decades of programs aimed at striking a racial balance, a Buffalo News analysis found that in 2012, 70 percent of schools in the city were segregated, suggesting that any gains seen after the implementation of the court order have been erased.

The situation in Buffalo underscores a disturbing trend seen across New York state, which the Civil Rights Project identified as the most segregated state in the nation.

The difference in Buffalo, however, is that the district was one of the only cities in the state that once instituted a serious integration policy resulting in more racially balanced schools, and has since resegregated.

Now, the city is at the heart of a region the Civil Rights Project ranks 21st out of 940 metropolitan areas in terms of multiracial segregation.


Housing patterns largely drive the segregation in the schools, as do parents opting to keep their children in schools within their communities. Some parents also argue that placement policy and the admissions criteria at some schools may play a role.


The impact of this segregation is most acutely felt by black and Hispanic students, who more often than not are concentrated in high-poverty, low-performing schools. The issue is not so much one of race but of class, which here and elsewhere are all too often connected, and correlates with academic performance, the report found.

“The black struggle to end segregation in the Buffalo schools began in the 1800s and it is still a struggle today in 2014,” said Eva Doyle, a well-respected local author, columnist and historian. “The African-Americans are still trying.

“They want a good education for their children.”


The racial makeup of the city has shifted in the decades since the desegregation lawsuit was filed.

In 1972, white students accounted for 54 percent of the district. By 2012, the most recent year for which school demographic data is available, they made up just 22 percent.

But the same percentage of city schools are segregated now as in 1972, with segregation defined as enrollment that is at least 80 percent minority or 80 percent white.

That percentage is a dramatic increase in the share of schools considered segregated just a decade earlier, when 29 of the 74 Buffalo schools were segregated. None was 80 percent or higher white.

At around that time, two things happened: the district eliminated neighborhood schools, and instead started assigning students to schools based on parental requests; and more charter schools opened in the city.

Since then, schools in South Buffalo have seen a significant increase in the percentage of white students, The Buffalo News found, while nearly all the other schools in the city experienced a growth in their minority enrollment. In fact, the minority population grew by 10 percentage points or more at half the schools in the city over the past decade.

Today, the enrollment of Buffalo’s white students remains heavily concentrated in a small number of schools where they make up a disproportionate majority. Although white students make up the minority districtwide, at 11 schools in the district, they are the majority. That includes two schools that have special admissions policies, City Honors and Olmsted 64.

One, Discovery School, is so predominantly white–82 percent–that it’s considered segregated.


Will Keresztes, the district’s chief of student support, said the district faces difficult dynamics when it comes to demographics, especially given that many neighborhoods of the city remain heavily segregated. In the past decade, the district has moved to a system that gives parents more options for where their children can attend school, in the hopes that the school choice process would allow greater movement throughout the city and not confine children to segregated schools in their neighborhood.

But by and large, most families opt for schools within the neighborhoods where they live.

“When open enrollment was established in our district over a decade ago, part of the intent was to eliminate any contribution we may have been making to segregation with rigid attendance zones,” he said. “We have found, though, that parents still generally choose to remain enrolled at a school either in their ZIP code or adjacent to it.

“The result is that school demographics continue to represent trends in the community–a community that is often segregated.”


Black, Hispanic, Asian and multiracial students accounted for 99 percent or more of the students at five schools in Buffalo in 2012. All of them were charter schools: Community, Buffalo United, Westminster, Aloma D. Johnson and Pinnacle, which has since closed.

“You have to consider that charter schools are schools of choice, which means people aren’t satisfied with schools they could have gone to,” said David Bouie, principal of Aloma D. Johnson Charter School, which has no white students.


At half a dozen schools in the district, known as criteria schools, students are chosen based on various factors, such as grades, teacher recommendations, and a placement exam.

Some parents have expressed concerns that the admissions criteria at those schools discriminate against minority students.

Although district schools with specific admissions criteria came closer to a racial balance, they tended to have a disproportionately white student population. At City Honors, for example, 66 percent of the student body is white–three times the percentage of the overall school district.

Those criteria schools recently became the focus of a civil rights complaint.

“It’s hard to see when you’re in that situation,” said Samuel L. Radford III, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council, which filed the lawsuit. “If your child is there, it’s hard to see how this wonderful situation that’s good for your child is actually creating a set of unfair conditions for other children.

“Privileged people are going to see change differently than underprivileged people.”

Keresztes said the district is well aware of how certain admissions practices affect enrollment, and some schools are making a concerted effort to level the playing field for students from all backgrounds.

“Principals of criteria-based programs have recognized that families may face barriers to accessing their schools because of the application process,” he said. “The district can and must address those barriers and that can be accomplished without diminishing the entrance requirements of the programs.”


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  • APaige

    Why do minorities and liberals believe that Blacks will become well-behaved scholars if they could only go to school with whites? Is there a magic percentage they have in mind? Too many Whites=not enough diversity and not enough Whites=SheQufia will not pass Algebra II.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      “Maybe the problem is with Blacks?”

      No. Blacks are pawns. White leftists have engineered one anti-white debacle after another to promote race mixing in schools and housing beginning with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 — or, more properly, GREEN VS. NEW KENT COUNTY (1968) which required school assignment on the basis of race to achieve more or less proportional mixing and later SWANN V. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BOARD OF EDUCATION (1971) which ordered busing to achieve more or less proportional mixing of the races.

    • SFLBIB

      The article doesn’t mention it, but if diversity is such a great thing for education, we would have seen test scores rise and fall with the increase and decrease in racial diversity. Did they?

  • JackKrak

    “Segregation in Buffalo Schools Has Returned to Early 1970s Levels”

    Oh, how I wish lots of things would return to 1970’s levels….

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Only the 1970s? I wish we could go back to the way things were when Jim Crow was the law of the South, the POTUS was a member of the KKK, and the federal government had a national origins quota system.

  • Frank_DeScushin

    So despite four decades of the government forcing integration that people don’t want, people still find ways to segregate. This should be a lesson to the government that their social experiment is unwanted and thus doomed to fail; but instead the government will see this as a reason to double down by investing more money and furthering limiting people’s freedom to flee the unwanted integration.

    • So CAL Snowman

      “The situation in Buffalo underscores a disturbing trend seen across New
      York state, which the Civil Rights Project identified as the most
      segregated state in the nation.”

      Only in the insane Western world is normal, natural behavior demonized as “disturbing.”

  • Romulus

    White flight from diversity (theft, rape,murder) is racist! (sarc)
    Wherever we go we will be hounded by this garbage. I used to offer more articulate prose but recently I think I’m coming down with another case of diversity fatigue.

  • Extropico

    There was just one mendacity after another in that article. The author is a White supremacist who believes that only Whites can create good schools. I suggest the writer study wealthy Asian nations and also see a psychotherapist for her antisocial behavior.

  • sbuffalonative

    Buffalo is ranked the third poorest city, the 6th or 7th most segregated, and is 6 to 1 Democrat (the obnoxious ‘progressive’ kind).

    I try to point this out on local websites but Democrats just don’t understand they are the cause of their own misery.

  • D.B. Cooper

    Predominantly white schools tend to produce white democrats anyway, so why not integrate? We don’t need more people like him, do we?

    • Tom Mixx

      I can look at this White young man and see he’s never lifted his hand to do any real work in his life and never will willingly. God help us.

      • D.B. Cooper

        How quickly we forget! That is Dylan Bleier, Oberlin race hoaxer.

        • Sloppo

          I remember this non-gentile propagandist who made up stuff to make gentile whites look evil.

          • wildfirexx

            A swift kick in his genitals may take that arrogant smirk off his face!

        • sbuffalonative

          I just searched his name and found his twitter account.

          Not many active followers.

          His profile and posts show him to be unapologetic, self-absorbed, conceited liberal.

          twitter com/DylanBleier

    • J. Russo

      I chuckled, but in all honesty that’s not very fair. You can’t tell whether or not someone’s a Democrat based on their appearance.

  • paul marchand

    The US federal government, with assistance from democrats, are terribly stressing, and trying to get rid of “my people” ( white folks). IMO it’s time to come out of the box.

  • Mason Gull

    “At half a dozen schools in the district, known as criteria schools, students are chosen based on various factors, such as grades, teacher recommendations, and a placement exam.”

    Grades be raysis. Tests be raysis. Is there any way to separate the good students from the bad students that isn’t “racist?”

  • Tom Mixx

    “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever…”

  • paul marchand

    The whole effect of forced integration is to BRING MY PEOPLE DOWN.
    FREEDOM , simple freedom, and choice, and entry criteria are all that is needed.
    NOT the heavy evil hand of the US federal government.
    The same bunch that forced abortion ” rights ” on the states.

    • paul marchand

      When I was in high school, Donaldsonville, Louisiana, 1966-1969, we had FREEDOM OF CHOICE. Perhaps 10% of the student body was black. All respected. And predominately respectable. There was no rancor. No reason for whites to run for cover. 1970: full forced integration. Now DHS is almost all black. The city is now about 23% white ( vs 60%). I am not castigating all blacks, of course. Many fine black folks. But when you have a murder rate as a whole that is 10x that of whites, and interracial rape thousands of times the opposite, ” something aint right” with the MASS. Individuals are individuals, and should be seen as such. But not with the USA government. We are all like cattle, to be mixed, in it’s primordial soup. Screw the US federal government. It gets me ill.

    • Mason Gull

      Abortion legalization has done more good than bad in America. If it weren’t for Roe vs. Wade, crime would be at 1980s and problem demographics would be significantly larger than they are now.

  • borogirl54

    Most of the whites probably attend private schools.

    • paul marchand

      And this in itself assists the destruction of the working middle white class. Many of the private schools are parochial schools, and IMO are a little snooty about those whites, which class is seriously being depleted, with the help of the IRS and ObamaCare. If you are not a US govt recipient, you are, in effect, sort of an enemy.

  • Martel

    Told you all our worldview is “winning”. Racial consciousness is a natural phenomenon. as is its corollary, ethnic conflict.

  • So CAL Snowman

    So let me get this straight, White people live in White neighborhoods and send their kids to the local schools. Black and Hispanic people live in black and hispanic neighborhoods and send their kids to the local schools. For some magical reason, the majority White schools are the “good” schools and the majority non White schools are the “bad” schools. Maybe, just maybe the difference between a “bad” school and a “good” school is the quality of the students.

    “The impact of this segregation is most acutely felt by black and
    Hispanic students, who more often than not are concentrated in
    high-poverty, low-performing schools. The issue is not so much one of
    race but of class, which here and elsewhere are all too often connected,
    and correlates with academic performance, the report found.”

    Funny it seems no mater where you go, blacks and hispanics are ALWAYS part of the lowest class, but it’s totally not a race issue.

    • Urbane Neanderthal

      “Maybe, just maybe the difference between a “bad” school and a “good” school is the quality of the students.”

      Beyond all reasonable doubt.

  • Ed

    If I ran the city of Buffalo I would vigorously defend the city against this silly lawsuit. If the admission based schools go away, the remaining Whites will flee taking what’s left of the tax base.

  • Pro_Whitey

    This strikes me as something like a photographic negative of the Fugitive Slave Act. The white people escape the “integrated” school system only to be tracked down and dragged back into the dysfunctional vortex.

    • The only defense is to homeschool. What is left for Whites that can’t afford private schools?

      • melissa236

        My only fear is that that too will be eliminated in the future.

        • We absolutely cannot let that happen.

      • It’s a dilemma. Even (most) private schools are terminally infected with political correctness and–like the rest of society–are besotted with mass-media propaganda. Granted, in some places you can find decent (traditional) private schools but it’s also true that most people aren’t really well-equipped to home-school their children. Still, crappy home schooling is better than crappy public ed. Safer too.

        • What amazes me is that crappy homeschooling will still provide a better education than the training prisons we know as public schools. A child with internet access, a library card, and even a little bit of curiosity will know more by age 15 than most people graduating from the local state university with a bachelor’s degree.

  • paul marchand

    Massive wholesale heavy-handed “integration” has done no good for blacks ( unless they consider white pain as good).
    But it has done extreme harm to whites.
    So, question: WHY ? What’s the use? Except to punish whites, who, by the way, have IMO less heritage guilt than those who have been voting for the Abortion Party, almost 100% , for the past 50 years.

  • Urbane Neanderthal

    Has anybody every axed an integregationist to explain why black kids given equal resources can’t learn without white kids in the same school?

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      U-uhh…w-white privilege! No, uh…discrimination!! Wait, no, I got it: stereotype threat!

      • Hallie Eva

        No, Genetics, it is “lowered expectations.”
        Blacks and browns fail because they are expected to perform badly. The deck is stacked against them.
        Got it? Good. sarc/

  • Ahnenerbe

    Nature finds its way, animals will mostly want to be around similar ones

  • Ahnenerbe

    This comment was deleted, lol

  • Sloppo

    I feel so sorry for those poor downtrodden black people. Wherever they move to just happens to be the next place that will become filthy, violent and full of corruption. They’re just so unlucky.

  • WR_the_realist

    When will the advocates of diversity ever realize that they’re running out of white children to desegregate schools with?

    • Rosenmops

      Exactly. At the rate Mexicans, Asians, Muslims etc. are coming in things will only get worse.

  • MekongDelta69

    “The Buffalo Public Schools are just as segregated now as they were in the 1970s…”

    Oh look – a rare piece of good news…

  • MBlanc46

    Why is this surprising? What white parent in his or her right mind want his/her children to go to school with Negroes? They’re disruptive at best, violent at worst. No white child should be subjected to them.

    • paul marchand

      Ann Coulter interracial rape stats study ( FBI): 1000s of times more ( that is 100,000%) B > W rapes than the opposite. No. This does not mean that all blacks are prone to interracial rape. By no means, not even close. But in an urban school, adding this possibility to general low academic achievement, behavioral problems far outside the curve, a drug rate ( and surely distribution) 10x that of whites………….why is the US federal government doing this to us? WHY ? For almost 50 years. The white “middle class” is being attacked in many ways, including the IRS, ObamaCare. And public schools. And crime in cities ( predominately blacks). WHY?

      • paul marchand

        We simply need freedom, as in * freedom of choice * , disparate academic standards, then let freedom ring.

  • Bobbala

    Literacy & Math are clearly racist.

  • IstvanIN

    Kid whose Dad goes to work every day = privileged.
    Kid who doesn’t know his father = victim of white racism.
    Simple, isn’t it?

  • cranky_1970

    If you applied a machine learning algorithm to the data the best fit model would show that race, intelligence, and class are redundant features. Of course, that means all computers are racist. Which makes sense since white men invented them.

    • But of course.

      • Dale McNamee

        Computers aren’t really that hard to use if you are literate and trained… Something Rakim will never be…

  • TXCriollo

    Buffalo what a joke, I still wish to this day my parents would have stayed in texas but no lets move to buffalo, second grade i got put in a northern school. They love the minorities but say dont live by them, I remember going to the principal in 4th grade because a black inner city kid said i was a racist. Its typical the blacks in buffalo hate whites end of story, the bps are a war zone what smart white person sends their kids to a school where they will get jumped? Buffalo is a city run by a black mayor, filled with liberal whites.

  • gregCall

    The US public school system spends considerably more per student on minority students than they do on white students. So why do they always portray majority black and hispanic schools as “high-poverty, low-performing schools”? I understand the low performing part, that is inevitable, but high poverty implies the schools are underfunded, rather than overfunded as they actually are compared to white schools.
    Minority groups don’t expect their students to improve at a white school, rather they resent the accomplishments of white students, and want to flood all schools to simply hide the fact that whites naturally do better.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      By “high-poverty,” they mean that the students’ families have high poverty rates. This ties into the liberal belief that parental income determines student achievement. It doesn’t, of course, but this belief is so ingrained among liberals that few of them ever even question it, much less search for the correct answer (IQ).

      Also, most typical liberals are completely unaware that black and Hispanic schools have greater funding, on average, than white schools. I’ve had this discussion numerous times with them before and they absolutely refuse to believe it could possibly be true, probably because it contradicts one of their most sacred beliefs: that school funding also determines student outcomes.

      • gregCall

        The point I was trying to make with the reference to “high-poverty, low-performing schools” was that it was used in the article, as in many others to give a false impression and reinforce those “sacred beliefs” you mentioned.
        I wasn’t actually asking about the “high poverty”, rather being sarcastic.

      • Ed

        Urban schools aren’t run efficiently they have a lot of useless positions for useless programs in the hopeless effort to turn their charges into productive members of society.

        A good window on this world is watching CNN’s Chicagoland docu-series currently running. The documentary itself is pretty blaze but you can see the utter failure of liberalism. One particular sorry episode is the angst and money spent to keep black kids safe walking to school. Evidently switching school zoning meant crossing gang zones, parents were not sending kids to school out of fear.

        Instead of taking a rational approach and holding the community responsible for the sorry state of affairs, Rahm spends millions hiring folks to man “safe zones”.

        • r j p

          For a fifth year in a row every senior at Urban Prep received a sKolaship to attend Kollege. Average ACT score is 17.

  • paul marchand

    When CRITERIA is deemed as “discriminatory”, we have an admission of non-equality. Which is a reason for criteria.

  • evilsandmich

    “They want a good education for their children.”

    So much so that they’ve put ZERO time into making their schools and students better.
    There’s nothing keeping them from having a decent school without any white people, they just don’t want one.

  • TXCriollo

    the buffalo news has a typical liberal anti white fighting my comments but no counter argument lol is all i can say

  • And why is a school considered most “diverse” when it’s 80-90% non-White? If “diversity” means “fewer Whites” then doesn’t it follow that being pro-diversity is the same as being anti-White?

    Be a bulldog about this distortion of our language and watch them squirm as they fight to keep that lightbulb from switching on.

  • chuck_2012

    segregation is normal along racial lines given the achievement deficit of black students. Those with little or no ability are channeled into programs that do not require an academic commitment whereas those that can, whites and asians, are put in the advanced classes so that they may continue to be challenged in their academic journey. Often teachers, when faced with a classroom of black faces, will set aside expectations and focus more on maintaining some degree of classroom decorum. I have experienced black students myself once while taking a course and there were 3 blacks in the class of some 35 students. Guess which group who caused all the disruption. They were admonished on several occasions to stop and pay attention. So let the blacks have their low achieving schools and white and asians go to the advanced schools. IQ and racial abilities self-segregate.