New findings by the Government Accountability Office shows that schools are becoming more and more segregated based on class and race. It has been 62 years since the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision was passed by the U.S. Supreme Court which overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision. The Brown v. Board of Education decision held that segregated schools are unconstitutional.
John B. King Jr., the U.S. Secretary of Education, elaborated on why this is. Not only have there been decisions that limited court-ordered desegregation, but King believes that some have simply lost the political will to do something about it. Gradually, this has caused the further segregation of students based on race and class.
In 1968, 14 years after the landmark case that made segregation of schools illegal, 23% of Latino students and 64% of black students attended intensely segregated schools, where white students make up less than 10% of the total student population.
The most recent data out by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California shows 43% of Latino students at 38% of black students attended intensely segregated schools.
Plus, 80% of Latino and 74% of black students currently attend majority non-white schools. It’s actually gotten worse.
How do we stop it?
King says that there are things that can be done, such as local communities embracing government programs such as President Obama’s Stronger Together Grants. This program allots $120 million in grant money for helping states or localities come up with programs or volunteer opportunities that help increase diversity. King says, “School saves lives and we have got to make sure that every school is providing every child with great opportunities, regardless of race or zip code.”
He also believes that there is a disconnect in communities where social unrest has erupted between police and people of different races and classes. He says that, “If we can create opportunities for kids to get to know other kids of different racial backgrounds, different religious backgrounds, they’ll be better prepared to then engage in the world – in a diverse world.”