Posted on August 8, 2018

Intense Segregation Is Returning to Boston’s Public Schools, Report Finds

Anne Branigin, The Root, August 6, 2018

Boston is the latest city that is facing resegregation in its school system, an issue that many education advocates and experts say can intensify stark racial and economic divisions in the city.

A new report from the Boston Globe details the city’s problems, finding that nearly 60 percent of Boston’s schools are “intensely segregated” — meaning students of color (mostly black and Latinx) make up at least 90 percent of seats. Twenty years ago, that number was 42 percent, the Globe reports.

The paper cites the decision to let more students attend schools in their neighborhoods, rather than enforcing court-ordered bussing, as a primary driver of the resegregation trend. A Northeastern University report also attributed the push to separate children by race on the computer system that assigns students to schools, saying its algorithm propelled school segregation and left black and Latinx students shut out of the city’s top-performing schools, siloing them into under-resourced, low-performing ones.

In tandem with intensifying segregation, the Globe reported that {snip} many of the majority-black and brown schools were underperforming.


In light of the reports, very different proposals have arisen on how to address the problem, with some city officials saying they’d prefer to take the money allotted for bussing and use it to directly fund classrooms in underperforming schools.

Michael Loconto, the chairman of Boston’s School Committee, pointed out to the Globe that the city’s school system is predominantly made up of students of color (86 percent, according to the district). {snip}

Loconto asked what the city’s priorities should be in promoting diversity in its schools: spreading out white students, hiring more staff that reflect the demographics of the school, or offering more education on other cultures?


But it’s also a nationwide phenomenon. An Atlantic article from earlier this year looked at school segregation as a nationwide phenomenon, drawing attention to recent school closures and openings as exacerbating the issue.