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Part 2: Solving School Resegregation

April 06, 2016

In Part 1 of this article, we explored the causes and effects of the rapid resegregation of American public schools. In Part 2, we will examine exactly why school segregation is a problem and offer up some preliminary solutions to this growing epidemic.

When African American parents were fighting for desegregation in the 1950s, it wasn’t the companionship of white students that they wanted for their children. They wanted access to the better educational resources and opportunities that existed in white schools. The problem with school resegregation today doesn’t necessarily lie in the differing composition of student bodies, but in the vastly differing educational resources and opportunities available to students in these schools. Schools with largely non-white populations tend to have the least qualified teachers, the worst facilities, and the fewest and least rigorous curricular options.[1] One way to quantify the disparity between white and nonwhite schools is to look at per pupil spending. A report by the Center for American Progress found that mostly white schools (90 percent or more white) spent $773 more per student than mostly nonwhite schools (90 percent or more nonwhite). [2] The fact of the matter is that our nation still has a de facto separate but equal education policy. And just as in the 1950’s, these schools are separate but in no way equal.

The first problem we can tackle is the funding inequities between different schools. A report from The Center for American Progress finds that changing a particular provision of a federal law would result in more equitable funding for school districts. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the federal government’s major contribution to public education for students living in poverty. It requires that school districts spend comparable amounts per pupil in both their high poverty schools and low poverty schools in order to get Title 1 funding. Districts across the country routinely tell the federal government that they are in compliance with Title 1. However, the so called “comparability loophole” explicitly directs districts to exclude teacher salary differentials when determining comparability compliance.[3] This is a big deal because experience is a major driver of teacher’s salaries. More experienced older teachers tend to leave for richer schools in the suburbs, which of course tend to be whiter. This leaves new and relatively inexperienced teachers in urban schools with mostly black and Latino students. In other words, the comparability loophole fools districts into thinking they’ve spent equal amounts of money on high and low poverty schools, when in reality, students in low poverty schools are shortchanged with new and inexperienced teachers. It’s estimated that closing this loophole would affect about 3,386 districts, where 77 percent of all students attend school. Of course, this is not a magic bullet-disparities in funding will still exist. But it is a good first step.

Kids leaving School <br/>Source: isaiahmn.orgKids leaving School
Source: isaiahmn.org

There have also been several examples of racially integrated schools that have enjoyed massive success. A joint study by the organizations Justice Matters and The School Redesign Network from Stanford University located five California public high schools that they described as “racially just” schools as they exemplified what integration sets out to do.[4] They adopted a structural approach to tackling racism within schools by satisfying the specific social and economic needs of their students and parents. Given that many of these schools were situated in high poverty neighborhoods, many students didn’t have access to adequate healthcare and nutritional meals. So these schools hired more school nurses, psychologists and nutritional advisors. They identified pedagogical practices that connected the curriculum with their students’ life experiences and gave extensive cultural training to their teachers so that they could effectively utilize the new practices. They also pushed for teachers to develop more personal relationships with their students to get them invested in their education.[5]

One specific in school policy that was immensely successful was the detracking of curriculum. Tracking is when schools separate students by academic ability so that students only attend classes with other students whose overall academic achievement is the same as their own. By detracking mathematics, Railside High School in California was able to close the achievement gap between white students and students of color.[6]  Detracking all subjects in Rockville Center, New York led to an increase in the percentage of African American and Hispanic students passing the Regents exam by 25% and 75%.[7] These academic benefits aren’t limited to students of color either. The same high school in New York was able to increase the number of white students who passed the Regents exam from 54% to 98%.[8]

In addition to the above strategies to create “racially just” schools, there also have to be policies specifically designed to desegregate schools. Municipalities need to repeal exclusionary zoning policies that create residential segregation and instead adopt policies designed to racially and economically integrated communities. One example of such a policy is Inclusionary Zoning (IZ), where all new developers are required to set aside a set number of housing units for low and middle income households. A study by the Rand Corporation found that IZ units were assigned to schools that had lower poverty rates as measured by the proportion of students who qualified for free or reduced-price meals.[9] The elementary schools that IZ units were assigned to were also more racially diverse that similar school districts without Inclusionary Zoning.[10] So such explicit measures to create residential integration would clearly spillover into educational integration as well.

School Bus<br/>Source: NIHSchool Bus
Source: NIH

In the end, lawmakers and community members need to recognize the growing danger of segregation within our public schools. It leads to worse educational outcomes for students of all races, and specifically disadvantages poor students of color by giving them schools with the least resources and opportunities. We need to act now to address this growing problem so we don’t repeat the mistakes of our past.

 



  [1]http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/school-districts-like-michael-browns-suffered-rapid-resegregation/

 

  [2] Spatig-Amerikaner, Ary. “Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color.” Center for American Progress (2012).

 

  [3] Ibid

 

  [4] Diane Friedlaender, Linda Darling-Hammond, Olivia Araiza, Susan Sandler & Valentina Valez-Rocha. High Schools for Equity: Policy Supports for Student Learning in Communities of Color. The School Redesign Network at Stanford University and Justice Matters, 2007, see http://srnleads.org.

 

  [5] Ibid

 

  [6] Jo Boaler. How a Detracked Mathematics Approach Promoted Respect, Responsibility, and High Achievement. Theory into Practice, 45, no. 1 2006: p40-46.

 

  [7]CC Burris, JP Heubert& HM Levin. Math acceleration for all. Educational Leadership. 2004: 68-71.; CC Burris, KG WElner. Closing the achievement gap by detracking. Phi Delta Kappan. 2005: 594-598.

 

  [8]Ibid.

 

  [9]Schwartz, Heather L., et al. “Is Inclusionary Zoning Inclusionary? A Guide for Practitioners. Technical Report.” RAND Corporation (2012).

  [10] Ibid. 

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  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>