Blacks are now seeing more school segregation than they have in decades and more than half of Latino students are now attending schools that are majority Latino.
In New York, California and Texas, more than half of Latino students are enrolled in schools that are 90 percent minority or more, the report found.
In New York, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, more than half of black students attend schools where 90 percent or more are minority.
Project co-director Gary Orfield, author of the Brown at 60 report, said the changes are troubling because they show some minority students receive poorer educations than white students and Asian students, who tend to be in middle-class schools.
The report urged, among other things, deeper research into housing segregation, which is a “fundamental cause of separate-and-unequal schooling.”
Although segregation is more prevalent in central cities of the largest metropolitan areas, it’s also in the suburbs. “Neighborhood schools, when we go back to them, as we have, produce middle-class schools for whites and Asians and segregated high-poverty schools for blacks and Latinos,” Orfield said.
Housing discrimination — stopping or discouraging minorities from moving to majority-white areas — also plays a role in school segregation and “that’s been a harder nut to crack,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which argued the Brown case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
School performance can be entwined with poverty, too.
“These are the schools that tend to have fewer resources, tend to have teachers with less experience, tend to have people who are teaching outside their area of specialty and it also denies the opportunities, the contacts and the networking that occur when you’re with people from different socio-economic backgrounds,” said Dennis Parker, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Racial Justice Program.
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled: “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.
Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” In the aftermath of that ruling, scores of cities and towns implemented desegregation plans that often included mandatory busing, in some cases triggering an exodus of whites to private schools or less diverse communities.
John Rury, an education professor at the University of Kansas, said the work at UCLA has revealed how many of the advances in desegregating schools that were made after the Brown ruling have stopped — or been reversed.
In the South, many school districts encompass both a city and the surrounding area, he said. That has led to better integrated schools.
Still, around the country, only 23 percent of black students attended white-majority schools in 2011. That’s the lowest number since 1968.
Advocates point to rulings by federal courts that have freed many of the schools from Brown-related desegregation orders since the 1990s. That, they say, is leading the country back toward more segregated schools.
BY THE NUMBERS
• In New York, California and Texas, more than half of Latino students are enrolled in schools that are 90 percent minority or more.
• In New York, Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, more than half of black students attend schools where 90 percent or more are minority.
• Around the country, 23 percent of black students attended white-majority schools in 2011, the lowest number since 1968.
• Between 1968 and 2011, the number of Hispanic students in the public school system rose 495 percent, while the number of black students increased by 19 percent and the number of white students dropped 28 percent. – Sources: U.S. Education Department; the Brown at 60 report.