Our schools are becoming more segregated. Do parents care?

In 1967, African-American parents fought against segregated schools, picketing outside the Atlanta Public Schools offices. CHARLES R. PUGH, JR. / THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION

The resegregation of public schools in the South troubles academics, civil rights activists and researchers. It’s been on the agenda of every major education conference or seminar I’ve attended in the last three years.

However, it doesn’t seem to be on the minds of parents.

Parents worry about whether class sizes are too large, whether math and science courses are advanced enough and whether their kids are competitive for Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia. They don’t seem to fret about whether their child sits next to a child of a different race or ethnicity — and fewer students do, a byproduct of growing residential segregation and school choice programs.

Yes, parents endorse diversity in principle, but not enough to pester the school board or push for rezoning to achieve racial balance. The research on diverse schools suggests advantages accrue to all students, including less prejudice and stereotyping and higher levels of cultural competence. Minority students show improved academic performance, often because integrated schools provide more resources and opportunities.

As John King Jr., former education secretary under the Obama White House and now president of the Education Trust, recently told education writers at a Washington conference, only a third of high schools with high black and Latino enrollment offer calculus, compared to 56 percent of those with low numbers of black and Latino students.

But that doesn’t necessarily sway families to seek out diversity, even as more of them enjoy greater choice in selecting their child’s school.

In a recent study, Pennsylvania State University looked at the decisions of public school students transferring to charter schools when given the option of schools with different racial compositions. The finding: Black and Latino students tended to choose charters more racially isolated than the public schools they left.

Today, more than one in three black students in the south attends a school where 90 percent of their classmates are non white. The retreat from integration concerns Penn State researcher Erica Frankenberg, an Alabama native who studies segregation.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown V. Board of Education ruling, the South led the nation in desegregating its schools and boasted the most integrated classrooms in America, said Frankenberg, who co-authored a new report by the UCLA Civil Rights Project on the resegregation of Southern schools.

Among the report’s conclusions and warnings:

•From 1954 to 1988 there was an increase in the interracial contact between whites and black students in the South as a result of court-ordered integration. However, resegregation began to re-emerge in 1990.

•The South has a small but rapidly growing share of charter schools, which in the region—as in the country—are even more segregated for black students than the traditional public schools.

•Private schools represent about 7 percent of the region’s enrollment and are disproportionately white. In some states, including Georgia, legislatures have provide subsidies to private schools through the tax system. (Georgia’s tax-credit scholarship allows taxpayers to donate money to a private school for student scholarships in exchange for a state income tax credit. The program diverts $58 million a year in income tax from state coffers to private school scholarships.)

•The days of court-ordered mandatory reassignment are over; today’s integration efforts almost always involve carefully designed school choice

Frankenberg believes parents and communities can be convinced of the benefits of integrated classrooms. “There is no need to see diversity and quality as trade-offs,” she said in a telephone interview.

Parents may not place a premium on classroom diversity because most accountability measures don’t. “We’ve narrowed this understanding of what a good school is to something measured only by test scores.” said Frankenberg.

Frankenberg sees some communities resisting segregation, citing the new diversity efforts n New York City where white students represent only 15 percent of the public school enrollment, yet a third attend majority white schools. Those diversity policies have been enabled in part by increased flexibility granted from the federal government.

While New York and Massachusetts are using this new flexibility to further diversity, the easing of federal oversight could go the other way in some states. “Flexibility might be good for those states,” said Frankenberg, “but is it good for states where diversity is not necessarily on the table?”

Reader Comments 0

139 comments
Dan McConnell
Dan McConnell

So how do we pressure politicians to get the funds and resources needed to make the poorest more academically competitive, as opposed to worrying about all that "separate but equal" nonsense?

Nur Alam
Nur Alam

In dynamic New York, just 15 percent of white understudies go to state funded schools . In dynamic Massachusetts the Louise Day Hicks/Kennedy main residence Southie state of mind is still as a result.

No say ever of Eurasian children, so we are well out of this, bless your heart.

https://smiletutor.sg/register-as-tutor/

Milo
Milo

Genetics. 

Starik
Starik

I left out black teachers; teachers who are educated in inferior segregated schools, colleges included, should not be teaching unless they pass a rigorous test. Teachers can't teach standard English if they can't read it, write it, or speak it. Give black kids a chance, not just to "graduate" without the skills for good jobs but reach their potential. Immigrant kids, especially those poor backgrounds, have a productive culture but they, too desperately need to be taught by competent teachers in an integrated setting.

Corey
Corey

@Starik Are not all teachers who teach in Georgia's public schools required to pass certification testing? Are not all teachers required to pass the same tests? Are not so called inferior colleges with teaching programs accredited by accrediting agencies that accredit all colleges' teaching programs? 

Starik
Starik

@Corey @Starik Yes, but how hard are the tests? Can people repeatedly take them until they pass? How hard is it to be accredited by the numerous unregulated accrediting agencies? Any teacher should be required to pass a serious test, and I'm in favor of greatly increased salaries for qualified teachers. Really qualified teachers.

IvanCohen
IvanCohen

@Starik  In your scenario, what race would these competent teachers be? The tendency is to say it would not matter. However nothing could be further from the truth. White teachers/Black students...somehow they are challenged in teaching without their "paternalism" creeping to the forefront.

Starik
Starik

The problems with many, certainly not all, with black students and administrators are traceable to slavery and Jim Crow. It's the underclass culture, or the 'hood culture, or "ghetto" culture. Babymammas and babydaddies, committing crimes to "get paid," (usually against other blacks), goofy religiosity (New Birth etc.), settling disputes with violence (shared by some Southern whites) will continue to cripple the educational system and eventually the entire country. Whose fault is it? The Southern white culture responsible for slavery and Jim Crow, that's who. If we're to fix the problem we have to recognize that there is a problem.

Baba Xigmadda2
Baba Xigmadda2

@Starik
At what point do you add to your 'History Lesson' the details of what the 'Black Voter' and 'Progressive Activists' have INVESTED into - fully confident that it would be a FIX for the 'History Lesson' that you detail?

Do you not see?  To allow a BLANK CHECK handover of these modern day POLITICAL EFFORTS to be harvested out of the 'Black Community' into 'Politics' - produces the present state of LACK ACCOUNTABILITY as the manifest 'Political Hopes' are totally separated from the outcomes that are produced BUT "General Lee" is always there to take the blame.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Starik OK, lets kill all those old Confederate soldiers, KKK founders and assorted Racists like George Wallace, Herman Talmadge and Lester Maddox and start over  

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@Starik

"The problems with many black students and administrators are traceable to slavery and Jim Crow"  

Let's see, slavery ended 150 years ago and Jim Crow ended 50 years ago, but yet, the black dysfunction is worse now than at the height of Jim Crow.  Whites are not forcing blacks to have all these children out of wedlock, to abandon their responsibilities as fathers, to commit crimes, or to get involved with drugs.  How much longer can the slavery/crow excuse be used?


"Whose fault is it? The Southern white culture..."

Yeah, that explains Detroit, Chicago, New York, etc, etc, etc, etc.


WPWW
WPWW

@Infraredguy @Starik Those were real men & true Americans who stood for the proper order and against fedg0v tyranny.

IvanCohen
IvanCohen

@Lee_CPA2 @Starik At least, Blacks have their children whether in or out of wedlock. Whites generally abort their children. Who heads up that movement about a "woman's right to choose"? Yeah, a woman's right to murder her child. Forget the man, he has no say in the matter.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

First and foremost. The biggest problem holding back poor, disadvantaged, majority/minority children is never discussed. It is taboo. Some day, it will have to be because it will become veryr obvioius that there is no solution except dealing with it head on. But then, that might be too late. It may be too late now. And, for any race, ethnicity, or group of human beings to advance and succeed (since  the beginning of  time) a sound family structure (mom, dad, and children living as cohesive, disciplined, and cooperative unit under one roof (so old fashioned, I know)  is absolutely essential. It is not an option. 


Unless and until that problem is called out, identified, had a bright light shined on it, and is meaningfully addressed, all of this blah, blah, blab about segregation, diversity, inclusiveness, etc. is just what it is - meaningless hot air. 


It takes the right kind of home and family relationships and environments to create a great nation, civilization, and not surprisingly, well educated children. It takes a family. A village can help, but a village cannot do it. It takes a family. 


Diversity is not a magic bullet. It is not even a bullet. It is pie in the sky. Under the right conditions (noted above) a nation, civilization, and educated children can be successfully created without any kind of diversity. Yes, the spice is nice, but not essential, and sometimes it can get in the way of progress, if  the concept is misused, as it is today, for politcal reasons.


Diversity - originally conceived to justify reverse discrimination and the dumbing-down of academic standards (once known as the politically tainted and now rarely heard concept, "affirmative action" - it has become the new liberal consensus solution to just about everything - along with the even more nebulous "inclusiveness" thing -  another so called pie in the sky "solution" to what ails us.  


But unfortunately, contrived and weak in its conception, diversity is a concept without the shoulders, by itself, necessary to carry the increasingly larger and heavier load being placed upon it by the Dem/Libs. And there are unintended bad consequences that have become very apparent during the last couple of years. 


A fair evaluation would certainly identify diversity as a positive, but only within a culturally homogenous environment, e.g. a "melting pot" as it were - as was the case during the wave of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Immigrants came here to assimilate and did so very successfully. They came here to be Americans first and Italians, Irish, Germans, Poles, Russians, whites, blacks, Arabs, Latinos, etc. second.  But things have changed. Why? 


For some time now, for political gain, the  Dem/Libs have gone all in on identity and gender politics and the the destructive divisiveness that ensues. Utilizing the new vaunted status of "diversity" they have led us down the pathway to a disastrous era of American tribalism  (the complete opposite of the "melting pot"), and it is taking its toll. Their parade was delayed by election of Trump, but how long it can be put off is questionable. 


Today's college "students" are the most fun to watch when it comes to this fraud that is negatively affecting them the most. They somehow believe that going to school in "diverse" environment with all different kinds of people around will give them a big "leg up" and "real" education. Diversity is nice, it is the spice of life, but just for the sake of argument we will not point out the complete lack or desire for any kind intellectual diversity on today's college campus indoctrination centers ( a whole other essay), and proceed  with a  big flash for you under graduates:  


What will get you a big leg up is spending about 10 to 12 hours a day on your studies. Class time is only a very small part of what you are supposed to be about. First. Focus on the fact that you are there first and foremost to get an education. Everything else is dressing. And Read. Read. Read. Read. And do what the professors tell you to do and the assignments that they give you. Second: Find the library and a quiet and favorite place to do the hard and sweaty work it takes, day in and day out, to become well educated. Third: Resist the distractions. Yes. College can be fun, and you need to sample the fun. But it is not any thing close to what is important for your to become well educated and successful in life. Do all that, and the race, color, gender, religion, or nationality of your classmates will matter very little - some, but very little. 




MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Milo @Ficklefan No, effort trumps all. 


In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, two sociology professors found that Asian Americans enter school with no clear academic edge over whites, but that an advantage grows over time. Even if they come from poorer, less educated families, Asian Americans significantly outperform white students by fifth grade, authors wrote.

"Asian and Asian American youth are harder working because of cultural beliefs that emphasize the strong connection between effort and achievement," the authors wrote. "Studies show that Asian and Asian American students tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that can be developed through effort, whereas white Americans tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that are inborn."


http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-why-do-asian-american-students-perform-better-than-whites-20140505-story.html

WPWW
WPWW

@MaureenDowney @Milo @Ficklefan Quite the utopian viewpoint indeed.  One must have the God given ability and potential to succeed...regardless of effort (which is a secondary factor).

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

But we clearly can't allow school choice. No, moms who can't afford to rent an apt in a better school district must not be allowed the freedom to move their kids into a good school - but must be forced to send them to the local failing school where they will be sitting next to kids who despise anyone who wants to learn.

In the name of "caring about public schools", of course. What the heck does that even mean? Why aren't we focused on whats best for the kids, not the schools??

Oh, i forgot. It's because what really matters is whats best for the adults in the public school system. And the "anyone who supports school choice and competition" mantra is really a smoke screen to make sure that these adults don't have to compete and deliver a quality product.

Sad... I have no idea how people who want to consign a kid to a life off failure, by ensuring that they never get to go to a better school, look themselves in the mirror.

E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum

@dcdcdc

Is your argument that students in different districts

should be able to attend any school if they do not

live within the district boundaries? I respectfully 

disagree with your position on public schools

(Most public schools do a fine job educating 

students.) .

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Starik Its all a racist plot in DeKalb fostered by White People in North Fulton

palepadre
palepadre

In the early stages of immigration, the newly arrived, wanted their children to be,"Americans." They relied on the school to educate them. Countries that didn't give children educational opportunities,or where even with a good education, jobs were scarce, taught their children how good a opportunity they had. Children, until college, while in the class room must be, "Students," without racial, ethnic,or religious identity. Math and Science are neutral. all the principles apply no matter what the childrens' heritage. I noticed a TV ad for K-12, where mother is pleased that her child will learn as himself, not what a in class environment will tell him what he should be. So Mother seems to imply, segregation is better for her child.

peanutgallery
peanutgallery

"The retreat from integration concerns Penn State researcher Erica Frankenberg, an Alabama native who studies segregation."


Rather ironic that Erica went to Harvard and Dartmouth for her post-high school education and is faculty at Penn State.  All three schools are overwhelmingly white.



MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@peanutgallery She mentioned to me she went to an underfunded public high school in Mobile, Alabama, that didn't even have air conditioning. 

And this wasn't ages ago -- she's young.

tailhook2591
tailhook2591

I graduated from an all-white North Fulton county public school in 1964 after receiving an excellent college prep education. Following integration standards, discipline, quality-of-education dropped in all areas. Figure it out.

Starik
Starik

@tailhook2591 I also graduated from HS in 1964. Integration was a shock to the system, for sure, but a moral obligation after slavery and Jim Crow. Integration was handled badly.

RickRN69
RickRN69

I must say i was part of the expirement "minority to majority" about 25 yrs ago, i was bused to a majority white school from a minority black area. I didn't do so well for a few reasons...change in culture, i did particularly bad in a french class, hey i thought it would be great to learn french. i only learned a few words. and i had discipline issues physical/verbal altercations, i got called the "n" word. but i also met people that treated me great. I transferred to a dekalb co school where i graduated. Busing may be great for some but that is an individual choice. of course this society should continue to try and remedy the gap in education but it should be done by choice of students and parents/schools on both sides not forced 

Starik
Starik

Well, I continue to believe in racial integration. That means people living together and attending a neighborhood school together. That doesn't exclude bussing kids from the poorest. most dangerous black neighborhoods to integrated schools in white/Asian/Hispanic areas. It's a four stage process. (1) Integrate the schools, and reasonably well-behaved kids of all races learn and get along together. (2) Concerned black parents in bad schools want to transfer their kids to the functioning, integrated school. I'd rather they moved into the neighborhood. (3) Black and some Hispanic parents want to transfer their kids because they're trouble, and parents and juvenile courts thing a transfer will fix them. (4) Trouble. The good black, Hispanic, Asian and white kids move on. What's left is a low achieving segregated school focused on sports and getting a fairly worthless high school diploma.


Baba Xigmadda2
Baba Xigmadda2

@Starik [quote]That doesn't exclude bussing kids from the poorest. most dangerous black neighborhoods to integrated schools in white/Asian/Hispanic areas.[/quote]

I have little doubt that YOU sound 100% logical................to YOURSELF.

Tell me - WHAT FORCE is making these 'Dangerous Black Neighborhoods" DANGEROUS?  

If Black people 'who can' are moving away in the best interests of their family safety - why do you think that it is a badge of honor for ANYONE, regardless of their race to put aside their concern for safety and allow this influx? 

Clearly you are arguing: "Do not allow too many of them in so that they don't tip the prevailing culture of the SAFE SCHOOLS"

I am more interested in hearing your brilliance to fix - as you call it 'The Dangerous Black Neighborhoods' using community buy in rather than a 'bus'

IvanCohen
IvanCohen

@Starik  A possible change to this dynamic is the photo of mom and dad in the black neighborhood surrounding their son inking a letter of intent to attend college or a university on an academic scholarship to counter-balance the photo of the son with his parents beside him and the coach signing an athletic scholarship all the time.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

I believe in Diversity, that's why I have 4.6 minority friends

youwantmetopay
youwantmetopay

Parents want the best for their children, and they realize that the children get only one chance to be educated. Said  education will always be more important to them  than any nod toward "diversity" or some other sociological experiment.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@Lucy- You are spreading my favorite computer virus free with every scam.

redweather
redweather

It is easy to recognize diversity if we focus on race and ethnicity, but there is obviously more to it than that. It also encompasses diversity of family background, economics, and attitude. Of the three, attitude plays perhaps the biggest role is how much acceptance one group is willing to accord another. And this is an age old conundrum. If we we're willing to treat others as we would have them treat us, many of the problems that plague our schools and the larger society would be alleviated. But there is something about the human animal that apparently makes this forever impossible.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@redweather

Yeah, but when the Human Resources department talks about "diversity", what they really mean is "hire more minorities"

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

@Lee_CPA2 @redweather Indeed, and that's unfortunate.  The word "diversity" amounts to both a neoliberal and a neocolonial normalization of so-called "race," IMO.  The word gives HR cover to practice hiring discrimination.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

@redweather What naive BS & you know it. Of course people honor the golden rule but that's not what you get when kids are raised with different standards, values and experiences. 

Starik
Starik

@DrProudBlackMan @Milo Just playing the system. The problem is the system. Doc, I would love to discuss these problems with you. See my posts up top.

IvanCohen
IvanCohen

@redweather  The human animal passes his or her "values" down from generation to generation. The elephant in the room is racism. Tendency, trend or inclination is to look past the elephant, look over the elephant, look under the elephant, look around the elephant. This is the 21st century. Keep this subject in your archives....you will revisit it again in the 22nd century.