In the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the U.S. government pursued a program of integration designed on ending the racial separation that existing in school systems across the country. This intense period of de-segregation advanced race relations and is fondly remembered as an important part of the American civil rights struggle.
But as income inequality continues to pull Americans apart, it is also having a toll on racial integration in schools. A new report just put out by Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles finds that schools are being quietly re-segregated. Here’s a summation of some of the data from The New York Times:
Across the country, 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of blacks attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their classmates are white, according to the report, released on Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.
And more than one in seven black and Latino students attend schools where fewer than 1 percent of their classmates are white, according to the group’s analysis of enrollment data from 2009-2010, the latest year for which federal statistics are available.
One part of the report that the Times fails to mention is the role that Obama administration policies are playing in this re-segregation. The report faults the administration for not taking action promotion school integration while at the same time strongly pushing for charter schools that often segregate student communities:
The Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration, has taken no significant action to increase school integration or to help stabilize diverse schools as racial change occurs in urban and suburban housing markets and schools. Small positive steps in civil rights enforcement have been undermined by the Obama Administration’s strong pressure on states to expand charter schools – the most segregated sector of schools for black students. Though segregation is powerfully related to many dimensions of unequal education, neither candidate has discussed it in the current presidential race.