May 15, 2014
Sixty Years After Brown, Latino Students Are Most Segregated,
Lesli A. Maxwell
the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, are now
the most segregated students in public schools, a trend that
is especially prominent in large suburban communities that have
undergone dramatic demographic change, a new report from civil
rights researchers concludes.
while gains made through federal court orders to desegregate
black and white students have lost major ground in many regions
over the past couple of decades as those orders were lifted,
public schools in the South remain the most desegregated for
African-American students. Public schools in the Northeast are
now the most segregated for African-American students.
findingsfrom a new analysis by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto
Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeleswere
released last week to mark the 60th anniversary of the U.S.
Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
that ordered an end to separate schooling for black and white
report also emphasizes that segregation in public schools now
strongly reflects not only racial and ethnic separation, but
isolation by family income.
half of the schools that have more than 90 percent black or
Latino students are also schools where half or more of students
are living at or below the poverty line," Erica Frankenberg,
a co-author of the study and an assistant professor of education
policy at Pennsylvania State University, said in a call with
Civil Rights Project also published separate reports connected
to the Brown anniversary that show California schools are the
most segregated in the nation for Latinos, and that North Carolina,
once considered a leader in school desegregation efforts, has
seen a major uptick in the number of racially isolated schools
in the state for African-American students.
Orfield, a co-director of the Civil Rights Project and co-author
on the new, national report, said that the rise in segregated
schools since the peak of desegregation efforts for black and
white students in the 1980s has coincided with the surge in
the Latino population.
the same time, housing and residential segregation remains at
the"root of the problem" for achieving greater racial,
ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in schools, he said. (Education
Week's special package on the state of school desegregation
60 years after Brown was also published this week.)
California, Latino students in 2011 attended schools with a
smaller share of white students than any other state, the report
said. The typical Latino student in California attended a school
where 16 percent of his or her classmates were white. State
demographers project 2014 to be the year when Latinos surpass
whites to become California's largest racial and ethnic group.
Orfield said that most of the federal court orders and other
related efforts to ensure black and white racial balance in
public schools never applied to Latino students.
been no real serious effort to desegregate Latinos," he
said in the call with reporters. "The great transformation
of our society has not been addressed effectively and Latinos
are more cut off from opportunity system than blacks are."