August 11, 2009
The April release of federal testing results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP, or the Nation’s Report Card) touched off a flurry of newspaper articles and opinion pieces. Several important themes emerged from the data and were highlighted in various media accounts. First, figures from the time period between 2004 and 2008 do not show a narrowing of the racial achievement gap, suggesting that accountability reforms associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may not be having the desired effect.1 Second, regional differences in closing the achievement gap have emerged. The gap has narrowed in the South, where it has traditionally been the most marked, while widening in some Northern and Midwestern states, regions that are among the most segregated for Black and Latino students.2 Media accounts have also honed in on a third theme: the achievement gap between White students and Black and Latino students closed most dramatically in the 1970s and ’80s, during the height of school desegregation.3 This issue of TIR will focus particularly on this last dimension, the link between integration and the achievement gap.
Before proceeding, it should be noted that the current emphasis on test results obscures broader notions about the purpose of schooling. While test scores are often employed to measure disparities in achievement, public schools are designed to achieve many other goals. Evaluations of schools and students should thus be expanded to include graduation rates, access to social networks that help open doors to higher education and professional, stable jobs and high levels of comfort in interracial settings.4 Ultimately school integration is about life chances, and research has demonstrated that both students of color and Whites benefit from an array of social and academic opportunities that flow from integrated education.5
What is the achievement gap?
The achievement gap refers to the observed disparity in academic performance between different racial and ethnic groups. While the gap is typically noted via standardized test scores, including the Nation’s Report Card, it also extends to racial disparities in gifted and talented programs, Advanced Placement courses, Special Education placement and dropout rates.6 Because these disparities often reflect issues of access to rigorous courses, more qualified instructors, and a variety of other resources, some researchers prefer the term “opportunity gap” to describe persistent inequities in schooling performance.7
In 2002, Congress authorized the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with bipartisan support. The bill formalized federal commitment to “standards-based education,” requiring states to design accountability and testing requirements based on learning standards. It also contains a provision mandating that test data is disaggregated by subgroup (i.e. race, gender, disability and poverty status). This emphasis on accountability consistently illuminates score disparities between Whites compared to Black and Latino students.
Setting aside for a moment the discussion of the relative merits of standardized testing, since the early 1990s – and even more so since the implementation of NCLB – states have accumulated an impressive array of data on the achievement gap. Unfortunately, much of these data make it difficult to compare student performance across states or over time because standards and assessments differ widely from state to state and because testing instruments change periodically. These factors make the NAEP assessment the only reliable measure of national student performance over the past three decades. The advent of NAEP in the early 1960s was born out of an effort to assess the progress of the U.S. education system,8 providing a nationwide measure of student achievement over time. This is why the April 2009 report garnered so much attention: despite the recent emphasis on accountability, the NAEP data indicate that the achievement gap has not closed.
School integration, NAEP and closing the achievement gap
Long-term NAEP achievement trends actually show that the White-Black gap narrowed most significantly “when courts nationwide were still enforcing strict desegregation orders.”9 The reduction of the NAEP achievement gap was also most pronounced in the Southeast, where desegregation most often occurred.10 A recent U.S. Department of Education study elaborated on this trend, finding that states in the South have continued to close the gap, while Northern and Midwestern states now report the most extreme disparities in achievement.11 Further, a study emerging from a compilation of pieces on the achievement gap, Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, found that the test score gap is currently nearly 50 percent larger in states with the highest levels of school segregation. In their review of existing literature on the gap, the authors also found that evidence from a variety of studies points to a significant relationship between school segregation and achievement gaps.12 Such findings underline the importance of considering integration in efforts to combat persistent gaps.
For much of the late 1960s and 1970s, the federal government worked in conjunction with the federal courts to support the goal of school integration, with the caveat that the support often trended towards magnet schools and managed choice rather than large-scale, cross-district assignment plans.13 In this climate, other reform-minded ventures came into play. These included a distancing from the traditional “grammar of schooling” toward open classrooms, schools without walls, flexible schedules, team teaching and multidisciplinary curricula.14 The first conceptualization of the NAEP test, in 1963, aligned with the tone of these reforms, emphasizing traditional subjects like reading, math and science, but also including performance-based and group measures of citizenship, art and occupational development, for a total of 10 subject area tests.15
Yet the 1983 publication of a Nation at Risk opened with alarm:
Our Nation is at risk. Our once unchallenged preeminence in commerce, industry, science, and technological innovation is being overtaken by competitors throughout the world. Our society and its educational institutions seem to have lost sight of the basic purposes of schooling, and of the high expectations and disciplined effort needed to attain them.16
Nation at Risk signaled the beginning of a shift in education policy focus. In keeping with the more narrowly-focused reforms of the accountability movement, today the NAEP test consists of a fourth, eighth and twelfth grade (though there are sampling concerns with high school seniors and motivation levels) basic reading and math assessments.17 Now, as our ongoing infatuation with standards and accountability is under fire from critics on both sides of the aisle, longitudinal NAEP indicators hint at what a large body of scholarly literature continues to corroborate: school composition matters for students in very important ways.
Research on student body racial composition and achievement
One of the earliest studies on desegregation, the federally mandated 1966 Coleman Report, found that the achievement gap between White and Black students increased by grade level and that peer groups had the most profound influence on student achievement. Following the release of the Coleman Report, years of more sophisticated social science research suggested that improved academic achievement – as measured by test scores, but also graduation rates and college attendance18 – and school integration were linked, and several recent publications continue to highlight this important connection. In a forthcoming study, Columbia University researchers Douglas Ready and Megan Silander find that attendance at a minority segregated school, after controlling for many individual and neighborhood characteristics, steadily contributes to the racial achievement gap for elementary school students.19 Ready and Silander conclude that these gaps may result in the loss of more than a year’s worth of cognitive development for Black students attending a high minority school.20 A 2004 study co-authored by economists Roland Fryer and Steven Levitt underscored similar results from the federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS). They found that the black-white test score gap disappears after controlling for a few individual-level variables (i.e. income, mother’s age at birth of her first child and parent education level) but reappears after just two years of segregated schooling.21 Finally, similar to the aforementioned studies from Steady Gains and Stalled Progress, a multi-state study of NAEP data and the achievement gap in the 1990s found a modest correlation between racial segregation and larger achievement gaps at the state level.22
Again, all of these studies focus on the relationship between standardized testing gaps and school racial composition. This is but one way of measuring the many different outcomes of schools, even as it is the outcome that arguably gets the most headlines.
The slow but steady stream of media coverage linking conversations about the latest NAEP report to school desegregation represent a rare opening in our national dialogue about education policy. Evidence pointing to superior academic and social experiences in integrated schools continues to mount,23 even as the country has stubbornly persisted in its emphasis on standards and accountability. The most conservative Supreme Court in generations ultimately affirmed the value of racially integrated education, though it limited the tools with which districts might pursue that goal.24 Yet the time is ripe for refocusing our educational priorities, aligning them with ongoing research demonstrating that school integration is an important element in the struggle to close the achievement gap.
For next time…
The Integration Report will resume in late September 2009.
The Integration Report
1 Dillon, S. (28 April 2009). ‘No Child Law’ is not closing racial achievement gap. New York Times. Retrieved at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/education/29scores.html?_r=1; See also The Nation’s Report Card reports at http://nationsreportcard.gov/.
3 Ibid. See also Goldstein, D. (18 May, 2009). Across District Lines. American Prospect. Retrieved at http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=across_district_lines.
4 Richard Rothstein and Rebecca Jacobsen (Dec 2006). The Goals of Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 88, No. 04, pp. 264-272.
5 Statement Submitted by 553 Social Scientists, retrieved at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/deseg/amicus_parents_v_seatle.pdf.
6 Berlak, H. (2001). Race and the Achievement Gap. Rethinking Schools Online at http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/15_04/Race154.shtml.
7 UC Accord-IDEA (2007). California Educational Opportunity Report: The Racial Opportunity Gap. Retrieved at http://idea.gseis.ucla.edu/publications/eor07/state/pdf/StateEOR2007.pdf. See also the Kirwan Institute, http://kirwaninstitute.org/publicationspresentations/publications/edu_integration.php.
8 Jones, J. (1996). A History of NAEP and Some Questions about its Future. Education Researcher. Retrieved at http://edr.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/25/7/15.
9 Goldstein, D. (18 May, 2009). Across District Lines. American Prospect. Retrieved at http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=across_district_lines. See also Vigdor, J. and Ludwig, J. (2008), Segregation and the black-white test score gap, in K. Magnuson and J. Waldfogel, eds, Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap, Russell Sage Foundation, New York.
10 Grissmer, D., A. Flanagan and S. Williamson (1998). “Does Money Matter for Minority and Disadvantaged Students: Assessing the New Empirical Evidence, in Developments in School Finance: 1997, William Fowler (Ed), U.S. Department of Education, NCES 98-212.
11 Dillon, S. (14 July 2009). Regional Shift Seen in Education Gap. New York Times. Retrieved at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/education/15educ.html.
13 Frankenberg, E. I& Le, C. (2009) The Post-Parents Involved Challenge: Confronting Extralegal Obstacles to Integration, 69 Ohio St. Law Journal, 1015.
14 Tyack, D. & Cuban, L. (1998). Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
15 Rothstein, R. Jacobsen, R. & Wilder, T. (2008). Reassessing the Achievement Gap: Fully Measuring What Students Should be Taught in School. power point presentation retrieved at http://www.tc.edu/i/a/document/6580_Rothstein_presentation.pdf.
16 National Commission for Excellence in Education (1983). A Nation at Risk. Retrieved at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/title.html.
18 Coleman, James S. Equality of Educational Opportunity (COLEMAN) Study (EEOS), 1966 [Computer file]. ICPSR06389-v3. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Education/National Center for Education Statistics [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-04-27. doi:10.3886/ICPSR06389, Statement Submitted by 553 Social Scientists, retrieved at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/deseg/amicus_parents_v_seatle.pdf.
Braddock, J. (2009). Looking Back: The Effects of Court-Ordered Desegregation, in Smrekar, C. & Goldring, E. From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press.
Rumberger, R. & Palardy, G. (2005). Does Resegregation Matter: The Impact of Social Composition on Academic Achievement in Southern High Schools. In Boger. J. & Orfield, G. (2005) School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back? Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Mickelson, R. (2009) Twenty-First Century Social Science on School Racial Diversity and Educational Outcomes, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1173.
19 Ready, D. & Silander, M. “School Racial Composition and Young Children’s Cognitive Development: Isolating Family, Neighborhood and School Influences.” Paper presented at “Looking to the Future” conference, April 2, 2009. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
21 Fryer, R. & Steven Levitt, 2004. “Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School.” Review of Economics and Statistics, pp. 447-64.
22 Lee, J. (2007) Can Reducing School Segregation Close the Achievement Gap?. in Frankenberg, E. & Orfield, G (2007). Lessons in Integration: Realizing the Promise of Racially Integrated Schools. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
23 Ibid. and Mickelson, R. (2009) Twenty-First Century Social Science on School Racial Diversity and Educational Outcomes, 69 Ohio St. L.J. 1173. Retrieved at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/lawjournal/issues/volume69/number6/Mickelson.pdf.
24 Parents Involved in Community. Schools. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 551 U.S. 701.
Click to navigate to desired section.
|Please send us your news
Please send reports, documents, court decisions, comments or suggestions for topics to: The Integration Report, Editor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for any information regarding changes to transportation routes that may adversely affect racial diversity in light of increasing fuel costs. Please let us know if these issues are being discussed in your communities.
No more delays for school assignment fix
The special committee formed by the San Francisco Board of Education in December to gather public input and deliver a plan for improving the school assignments by April missed the deadline. A better system was supposed to be ready for the 2010-11 school year, but now it will be postponed for at least one more year.
Longview ISD’s policy has students lined up
As Longview ISD works to get itself out from under a decades old desegregation order, the weight of inter-district transfer students ó and elementary students at Hudson PEP Elementary School ó affects the balance of racial diversity within the district. The intra-district transfer policy changed just before the 2008-09 school year when U.S. Justice Department officials learned the district was not focusing on racial diversity when considering transfer requests within the district. Now, the district can only approve intra-district transfers that
Jefferson school board members’ actions could prolong federal oversight
Despite warnings to the contrary, some Jefferson Parish School Board members insist on micromanaging the day-to-day operations of schools, behavior that threatens to hinder the district’s progress toward winning relief from federal oversight, observers have said in recent reports. In a document submitted to federal court this month, Kelly Frels, the monitor appointed to independently oversee Jefferson’s desegregation process, cited mounting concerns about several unnamed board members, who he believes had pressured Superintendent Diane Roussel to appoint their picks for faculty and administrative assignments.
Riverview Charter School faces federal directives to boost minority enrollment
Riverview Charter School faces federal directives to boost minority enrollment that have not been placed upon South Carolina’s other charter schools, according to a South Carolina official, and prescriptions by the Office for Civil Rights put the school’s enrollment methods at odds with state law. The agreement between OCR and the school district stipulates Riverview must close if it doesn’t meet racial enrollment targets and take specific steps set by the OCR to recruit more black students and faculty.
Riverview Charter School gets approval, strict caveats to remain open
Riverview Charter School will be allowed to open Aug. 17 as planned.
However, the agreement between the federal Office of Civil Rights and the Beaufort County Board of Education that allows it to do so stipulates that it could close as soon as next year if it doesn’t boost minority enrollment. The school also will be required immediately to offer enrollment to any non-white students on its waiting list.
Feds probe Miss. schools’ racial imbalance
The U.S. Justice Department wants a small Mississippi school district to end its practice of allowing hundreds of white students to transfer out of majority black schools, calling it a violation of a desegregation order and federal law.
Huberman investigates clout, but minority enrollment also a question in selective schools
Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman last week launched an investigation into whether clout gets some kids into the city’s selective high and magnet schools. But that’s not the only issue surrounding admissions. Since 2000, the enrollment of African-American students in the city’s vaunted selective enrollment high schools has been on the decline, and the number of Latino and poor students remains starkly low. And the School Board is still trying to get a federal judge to lift a 1982 desegregation consent decree that made race a factor in selective and magnet school admissions and ushered in extra resources.
Judge closes Vermilion school case
The long-dormant school desegregation case in Vermilion Parish is officially over. There has been little activity in the case since the 1970s, but the Justice Department has conducted reviews every few years to ensure the School Board remained in compliance with a 1974 consent decree to desegregate schools.
Charter schools and resegregation
Little Rock, Arkansas School District attorney Chris Heller has compiled a certain-to-be-controversial report to the School Board today on the impact of open enrollment charter schools in Pulaski County on the three public school districts. They have siphoned thousands of students from the districts and, in the process, Heller said, created the “most segregated” schools in Pulaski County. Predominantly white in white Maumelle, predominantly black in predominantly black parts of Little Rock, for example.
Changed federal court order eases school choice for Rome parents
Rome City Schools students can attend any school within the system at the request of their parents or guardians, as long as there is space available. House Bill 251, which requires systems to allow intra-district transfers, was officially announced in June. The Floyd County school system ended their application deadline for intra-district transfers July 17.
Judge lifts ABSS desegregation order, in place since 1971
A federal judge ruled the Alamance-Burlington School System (North Carolina) has met requirements to overcome “vestiges of prior discrimination Ö to the extent required under existing law.” Judge James Beaty’s decision dissolves a 1971 court order that affected the former Burlington school system and later the merged Alamance-Burlington system. He made his ruling public last week.
Walthall school board approves transfers
Walthall County (Georgia) school officials met to determine if white students in the predominately black Tylertown school district will continue to be allowed to transfer. It is a practice that is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
School board critics crowd the ballot
Multiple candidates might dilute vote for opposition
Critics of Wake County’s student assignment policies may have done too good a job motivating frustrated parents to run for seats on the school board this year. Multiple district critics are running in all four of the nonpartisan races on the October ballot, potentially fragmenting the votes of those who want change and leading to efforts to get some opposition candidates to drop out. In contrast, supporters of current board policies are able to line up solidly behind one candidate in at least three of the four races.
Wake schools says majority of students live close
Eighty-six percent of Wake County Public School System students are assigned to a school within 5 miles of home, according to a new study by the district. The study, based on the 2006-2007 school year, shows about 55 percent of students attended a school of their choice within 5 miles of their homes. Overall, about 80 percent of all students in the school system live within 5 miles of their school.
Wake’s diversity policy receives praise
In front of around 100 people, Gerald Grant forcefully articulated his support for Wake’s diversity policy. Citing a February article, he took Dana Cope, leader of the Children’s PAC, to task for saying, “how dare they use my children for a social experiment that has gone wrong and needs replacing.” “The experiment has not gone wrong as Dana Cope says,” Grant said. “It doesn’t need to be replaced. It needs to be replicated.”
Wake’s grads do best in college
5 urban systems’ grads compared
A new report indicates that Wake County high school graduates as college students are outperforming their peers from Durham, Charlotte and the state’s other urban school districts.
A comparison by Queens University of Charlotte placed Wake’s graduates at the top among five urban school districts in the state when it comes to academic success in the University of North Carolina system. The report had Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system graduates often second or in the middle of the pack, with Durham graduates frequently ranking last among the systems.
Parents try to unite in Jefferson Parish desegregation process
A group of parents with children in the Jefferson Parish school system are joining forces to express concerns over the ongoing desegregation process. It’s an attempt to unify parents of black students in the Jefferson Parish school system. Dr. Juantina Johnson, a parent herself, organized a meeting to focus on key issues in the ongoing desegregation process for JP schools.
NAACP fights full unitary status
The attorney who represents the local NAACP in Jackson-Madison County Schools’ desegregation lawsuit said he plans to fight the School Board’s motion for full unitary status – which would end the lawsuit – because most of the system’s elementary schools have racially unbalanced student bodies. The NAACP supports partial unitary status, under which a federal court would continue to monitor assignment of students to schools.
Parents meet after filing school desegregation suit
Parents gather at 2 meetings to discuss Jefferson Parish Schools
Concerned African-American parents met Saturday night over the quality of education that their children are receiving in Jefferson Parish schools.The parents said they are concerned about what efforts Jefferson Parish has made to comply with the decision to desegregate schools. Parents said they believe not enough has been done to ensure a racial mix in the schools.
Charters must commit to diversity
In Massachusetts and across the nation, charter schools have emerged as the “it” for education reform. Charters are government leaders’ latest stock cure for all that ails schools with large shares of disadvantaged students. However, a review of research, most notably from the Economic Policy Institute, suggests it is unrealistic to expect charters to reverse the vast educational inequalities.
St. Landry closer to ending 44-year old desegregation case
The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to end its oversight of the way schools are staffed. That resulted Thursday in a federal judge saying the St. Landry School Board has achieved partial “unitary” status – meaning the system is providing equal opportunity in staffing. The move comes after new principals were named at six schools last year. Court records show that, of the school system’s 37 principals, 19 are black.
Board negotiates keeping Ville Platte High open
The Evangeline Parish School Board is negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department to spare Ville Platte High School from closure in the parish’s desegregation case. The aging, predominantly black high school has been the major roadblock to ending the decades-old desegregation case. The Justice Department has sought to close the facility but is considering an alternative that would require the School Board to make extensive renovation and upgrades at the school, according to attorneys in the case.
Rome School System comes out from under segregation-era court order
The Rome City School System has eliminated all vestiges of segregation and has been granted “Unitary Status.” The school system has been working to come out from under the 1969 desegregation court order since 2006 and learned recently that The U.S. Department of Justice and a federal judge agreed it was time. Superintendent Gayland Cooper says all students in Rome, regardless of race, have access to a quality school. Cooper stresses the action will not affect the way the school system currently operates.
Phila. desegregation case ends, but lawsuit looms
No sooner was the 39-year-long desegregation case against the Philadelphia School District officially closed yesterday than the threat of litigation by the teachers’ union appeared on the horizon. Commonwealth Court Judge Doris A. Smith-Ribner approved an agreement mandating extensive changes in the way many black and Latino students are educated in the city’s public schools. The district and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission – original parties in the case filed in 1970 – signed off on the settlement last week.
Beyond black & white: Is Longview ISD’s neighborhood schools plan segregation?
There is an 86-page book at the Longview Independent School District administration office.
Behind its seemingly ordinary pale blue cover are charts upon charts that list every street within the district’s boundaries.Ultimately, the book tells where the district’s elementary and middle school students attend classes based on a decades-old federal desegregation order. Superintendent James Wilcox introduced a neighborhood schools concept to trustees about a year ago. District officials have worked on the plan for the past year in the hope they can eliminate the desegregation order.
Minneapolis public school plan incites racially charged debate
It’s been 37 years since a federal judge ordered Minneapolis to desegregate its schools, and the city still can’t seem to get it right. Its latest attempt to rework the district’s confusing formula for assigning students to schools is still in the works, but has triggered a racially charged debate in this city of liberal good intentions.
School board votes to seek full unitary status
At Thursday’s meeting, without any discussion, the JMC (Jackson, TN) School Board voted 6-3 to seek full unitary status of the 2008 revised consent agreement. Board members Carol Carter-Estes, Anne Henning-Rowan, and Linda Pride voted against the motion. In 2008 a motion for partial unitary status, in all areas except for student assignment, was submitted by the school board, the NAACP and the Department of Justice based on a revised agreement. Later the County was granted standing in the case and filed a motion requesting Full Unitary Status based on the original 2000 Agreement
Kent School District joins trend of minority students outnumbering whites
The Kent School District this year became the seventh Seattle-area district in which minority students outnumber white students. It’s part of a demographic shift that’s happening in districts across Washington and the nation ó one fueled by immigration and a minority population that’s younger than the white population and has a higher birth rate.
Minorities up in local suburban schools
In 2007, the nation’s suburban school districts educated a student population that was 41.4 percent non-white, up from 28 percent in 1993.Indiana fits into the “new settlement area,” which has undergone significant growth in its Hispanic population over the last 10 to 15 years, Pew senior demographer Jeff Passel said.
School busing out for some Berkeley kids
About 400 Berkeley elementary school students will feel the pain of budget cuts next fall when they lose the privilege of riding a bus to school. The Berkeley Unified School District board approved a plan to extend the “walk boundary” from one mile to one-and-a-half miles at its last meeting in June.
Some districts can skirt new law
Many students seeking transfers left in limbo.
As HB 251 became law this week, Evans and others across the state learned that when it comes to choice, their transfer options are sometimes being limited, delayed or postponed indefinitely.
A notice on the Coweta County Schools Web site recently alerted choice-seeking parents that the new law did not apply to them. Coweta County Schools ó- and more than 40 other districts statewide ó- operate under federal desegregation orders that still mandate school integration even in some districts that have become more diverse over time.
School attendance zones put online
Attendance boundaries for both District 17 and Sumter School District 2 have received heightened interest in the past few months as a small group examines those lines, and recommends possible changes to them, as the two districts work toward merging on July 1, 2011. Any plan that is decided on must then be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice because District 2 is under a court-ordered desegregation plan dating to 1969, and District 17 has a voluntary desegregation plan.
Districts’ consolidation almost finalized
Sumter County is moving toward having one school district, but there are still a couple of technical issues to resolve before it’s a done deal.The U.S. Department of Justice granted what is known as “preclearance” approval to the plan in April 2008, two months after Gov. Mark Sanford signed the consolidation bill into law. The entire state of South Carolina is subject to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which requires that the Justice Department review any changes that affect voting patterns.
An unbridgeable chasm, mere miles apart
“In the 20 or so miles that separate Jefferson High School from La CaÒada High,” writes The Los Angeles Times, “in the miles between inner city and suburb, there exists a social chasm so deep as to seem unbridgeable.” In a profile of two students, personally similar but demographically opposite, The Times distinguishes between the two poles of public education in the sprawling confines of Los Angeles.
50 years later, integration results are mixed
Five decades ago, Gary Range became one of the first black students to integrate Miami public schools when he marched into an all-white elementary school three blocks from his house.
Today when he walks the halls of Orchard Villa Elementary, he sees new, cream colored walls where the smaller schoolhouse once stood, along with dedicated teachers and administrators.
What he doesn’t see: A single white or Asian student. Orchard Villa is 97 percent black.
“It’s not been fulfilled,” Range said of the district’s efforts to integrate the school. “Change has been fulfilled. Change from a white school to a black school. Integration’s supposed to be a mixture.”
School Board approves student assignment plan
The Seattle School Board, in a 6-1 vote on June 17, has approved the final recommendations for a new student assignment plan that it says is predictable, equitable, and easy for families to understand, however one board member said it’s still incomplete. Under the new plan, each student will have a school assignment based on his or her address. Families will still have the option to apply to another school, and open choice seats will be available at all high schools.
Where diversity is the draw
Defying white flight, NW D.C. neighborhood carved its identity
Only six houses out of 1,000 are available in Shepherd Park, where residents tend to stay put for a long time “It was a case where integration really worked out, because I think there were people in the neighborhood who really wanted it to work out,” Heck said. “It wasn’t the big scare that it was in some neighborhoods. There were enough people that were a little more liberal.”
Parents not happy about school assignment plan
The Seattle School Board got an earful Wednesday evening from parents angry about a new school assignment plan. Under the plan approved in a 6-1 vote, students would be assigned to a school in their neighborhood and no longer bussed to a school in other areas.
Justice opposes St. Landry schools request
The U.S. Justice Department wants to block a move by the St. Landry Parish School Board for partial freedom from federal oversight in the school system’s desegregation case.
The School Board asked U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon last month to declare that discrimination no longer plays a role in staff assignment or in the quality of education available to students.
Berkeley school integration challenge rejected
In a victory for advocates of school integration, the state Supreme Court rejected a challenge Wednesday to Berkeley’s policy of considering the racial composition of students’ neighborhoods in deciding where they will enroll. Without a dissenting vote, the court denied review of an appeal by backers of Proposition 209, the 1996 initiative that outlawed racial preferences in public education, employment and contracting. An appellate ruling upholding the Berkeley system is now binding on courts statewide and allows any district to adopt a similar plan.
Pasco begins examining middle school boundaries
As a committee began the process this week of redrawing attendance boundaries for middle schools in west Pasco County (Florida), the school district’s planning director quickly put to rest any thoughts that the task would be a snap. Several factors come into play when attendance boundaries shift, such as how the change might affect bus rides or whether future growth trends could cause crowding problems at a school.The district also tries to maintain a balance in the racial and economic diversity of the student population.
Judge rejects TUSD plan in deseg case
District, plaintiffs have until June 30 to reach an accord
The Tucson Unified School District will head back to the drawing board as it continues working to get out from under a court mandate to achieve racial balance in its schools. A federal judge threw out the district’s plan for post-desegregation, after plaintiffs objected that the filing amounted to an end run around a committee made of up both sides that was supposed to collaboratively resolve the issues in the 30-year-old case.
Avoyelles desegregation ruling praised
A new ruling from a federal judge in the Avoyelles Parish School District (Louisiana) desegregation lawsuit is being celebrated as a success by all sides. The order issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Dee Drell of Alexandria delays a decision on a proposal to have only one public high school — instead of the current three — to serve the parish.
Wrong assignment for Boston schools
Many parents are concerned that the Boston Public Schools proposal to change student assignment and transportation may hurt rather than help their children. Superintendent Carol R. Johnson has proposed replacing the three assignment zones with five smaller zones to reduce busing costs. School officials say the proposal could save up to $10 million annually.
Charter school busing cut draws ire
Johnson’s $10m plan faces legal questions
Hundreds of students are ferried to charter schools across Boston each day in bright yellow buses, courtesy of the very school district that their families have rejected. But now Superintendent Carol Johnson wants to end the ride for many of those students – a move that has placed her at odds with many charter school leaders and that state education leaders say would be illegal.
East Bridgewater (MA) schools vote to adopt school choice
The School Committee voted unanimously Thursday to participate in school choice for the 2009-2010 school year. The program allows students who do not live in town to attend schools, for which the school is reimbursed by the state. Students are chosen by lottery, and an application deadline has yet to be set.
Carver key to bold plan for black children
Amid the thousands of students who have graduated from California high schools since last spring are 21 who once shared a kindergarten class at Carver Elementary in San Francisco’s distressed Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Among the graduates, Carver made a difference. “It’s clear that many kids benefited from the Special Plan for Bayview-Hunters Point,” agreed Stuart Biegel, who served as the plan’s court-appointed monitor. “It was real and palpable for many kids over time.”
County schools segregation suit dropped; Shelby County Schools granted unitary status
A more than four decade old segregation case in Shelby County is finally over after a judge granted “unitary status” to the school system Thursday.
Race won’t affect Shelby County school plans
Some concerns raised, but attorney tries to allay fears
Race won’t be a priority in decision-making for Shelby County Schools (Tennessee), now that the district is free of a decades-old desegregation order.
Hearings begin tonight for Orange County Schools rezoning
Tuesday night the Orange County School Board (Florida) will hear the final suggestions on rezoning the district that will affect more than 30 schools. The Orange County School Board inadvertently skipped the step of having a balanced biracial committee over see the rezoning proposal. It’s required by a federal desegregation order. Some members of the newly formed biracial committee, as well as Rev. Randolph Bracy with the NAACP, have since said they don’t feel the proposed rezoning addresses the district’s changing racial makeup.
Georgia Law likely to increase student transfers in public schools
Public school parents who want to transfer their children to a school across town now have a shot.This month, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 251 into law. Starting this fall, students can attend any school in their system as long as it has room and isn’t brand new.
ODU archivist starting a catalogue of integration
ODU archivist Sonia Yaco helped start a statewide organization to find documents, journals and memorabilia dealing with school desegregation from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. She had taken the job at ODU specifically to work with its collection on Massive Resistance, a period in Virginia history when the state fought the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that segregated public schools were illegal.
MALDEF will object to ECISD’s request
CRUCIAL, the group who initially claimed the Ector County Independent School District (Texas) was not following desegregation laws, will appeal ECISD’s request to end court oversight on the district’s 25-year-old desegregation plan. The consent decree was an agreement made in 2006 between CRUCIAL and ECISD to outline some final steps before the district could have its suit dismissed. Hinojosa said he still doesn’t believe the district has fully complied with provisions on the equity and effectiveness workgroup, student interventionists designed to prevent minority dropouts and hiring and assigning more minority faculty members.
Single West Lawrence high school envisioned
Consolidation efforts at high schools in Lawrence County (Georgia) are a step toward consolidation of all high schools in the western portion of the county, An order by U.S. District Judge David Proctor on May 8 approving a joint report by attorneys representing the Board of Education and NAACP allows the board to move forward with plans to consolidate schools. Until a West Lawrence school is created, it will be “extremely difficult” for the board to seek unitary status with respect to student assignment, Proctor said in the ruling.
School desegregation: 55-Year progress report
While a lot has changed and benefited non-white school children in a half-century there’s still what Eichenthal calls a “separate and unequal” education system in Tennessee. Eichenthal said Tennessee’s BEP school funding formula is to blame because it gives more tax dollars to rural schools than those in urban and suburban areas.
Legacy enrollments offered in two top L.A.-area schools districts
Beverly Hills and Santa Monica-Malibu schools welcome the children of alumni — and any financial help they may wish to provide.
Emulating a controversial practice at many colleges, two high-achieving public school districts in California are giving preference to the children of alumni.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District have adopted legacy admissions policies for children of former students who live outside their enrollment boundaries. The policies appear to be the first in the nation at public schools, education experts said.
Busing’s future on the line in May meetings
For the second time in five years, Boston parents will have a chance to speak out on how to change the student assignment plan for the Boston Public Schools. But the series of five community meetings next month takes place amid dramatic changes in everything from enrollment size and the school budget to the mix of students and the definition of quality education.
Controversy over school redistricting intensifies
Controversy surrounding proposed changes to the way Boston assigns students to schools intensified last night as Superintendent Carol R. Johnson presented a revised plan that would strip citywide access to two schools highly sought by parents and would also greatly limit busing to parochial, private, and charter schools.
Coalition opposes rezoning of schools
Members say plan would hurt poorer students
A coalition has formed to fight proposed changes in the way Boston assigns students to schools, arguing that it could lead to resegregation and fewer opportunities for students in some poor neighborhoods to attend good-quality schools. The Coalition for Equal Quality Education includes Councilor Chuck Turner, the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union, some students, and several grass-roots groups.
Many Roanokers say zones need more work
Several speakers expressed concerns about less-diverse schools.
Many Roanokers still do not think the school board’s proposal to redraw the city’s school attendance areas next year do enough to create diverse classrooms.
Back to the future on school desegregation?
The Roanoke School Board tackles difficult decisions at today’s meeting.
It was 1971, and Dr. Wendell Butler had recently been appointed to the Roanoke School Board when a judge ordered that the city’s elementary schools should be desegregated. In response the school system drew up new attendance areas requiring that children from black Northwest Roanoke neighborhoods be bused to schools in white Southwest Roanoke neighborhoods. The judge signed off on the busing plan, and it has stood almost intact ever since.
School Board votes to re-draw attendance zones focusing on elementary schools
The debate may not be over, but the vote is in. Friday, the Roanoke City School Board decided to re-draw school attendance zones, choosing an alternative that favors neighborhood schools over cross town busing.
John Hope Franklin – Path breaking historian dies
John Hope Franklin Seinfeld the Tulsan who largely invented the field of black history – died Wednesday in Durham, N.C He is remembered proudly as a gentle but forceful academic, who used his knowledge as a means of change.
Barbour County schools closer to unitary status
A nearly two-year-old order restricting Barbour County (Alabama) students from crossing over to attend school in Dale County is working for both school systems and could allow one to be released from court oversight in less than three years, according to officials. http://www.dothaneagle.com/dea/news/education/article/barbour_county_schools_closer_to_unitary_status/65254/
U.S. to probe parents’ complaints of bias in L. Merion schools
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will investigate complaints from South Ardmore parents that a redistricting plan for Lower Merion’s (Pennsylvania) schools discriminates on the basis of race. On Jan. 14, parents of public school students wrote to the department, alleging that a redistricting plan approved by the school district’s board Jan. 12 was disproportionately burdensome to South Ardmore while sparing other communities.
GOP lawmaker proposes scrapping Minnesota school integration aid
Schools, lunch program would get money instead
A Republican state lawmaker wants to scrap integration aid given to some Minnesota school districts and redirect the money to other education programs. Integration aid, started by the Legislature in 1997, is the state’s latest strategy to promote voluntary desegregation efforts. This school year, 96 school districts will receive $88.1 million in integration aid.
Lakeville study group recommends magnet school approach
School board must decide quickly to tap in to state funding for such programs. But some board members want more time.
The Lakeville School District should start a schoolwide magnet program at Oak Hills Elementary, a group of teachers and staff members told the school board Tuesday night. The group, charged by the school board with designing the program, advised the district to transform the school into a math and science magnet in the fall of 2010.
Englewood, NJ district warns of staff cuts
The school district will have to cut 10 staff positions if it doesn’t recover funding from the state, officials said Friday. The state recently cut a $4 million program aimed at academic achievement and desegregation in the district.
School official excited about magnet proposal
The school-within-a-school Eastside Accelerated Magnet Program would become part of a larger magnet school at Hammond Eastside Elementary School if the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s (Louisiana) proposed school desegregation plan goes forward, school officials said.
Hub must fund private school busing, city’s counsel says
Boston school Superintendent Carol R. Johnson was planning a bold but controversial cost-saving step for next year: halting a decades-long practice of busing students to parochial and private schools, a quietly treasured perk among the families involved. But the city’s chief legal counsel determined that the department has a legal obligation to pick up the approximately $2.2 million tab, overriding a legal opinion the School Department obtained from its own lawyer last year.
Changing school districts concern parents
Some parents say that the proposed attendance zones for two new east Montgomery schools give preference to middle-class families and will do little to help overcrowding and lack of diversity in Montgomery Public Schools (Alabama).
How to fix Monroe County’s segregated schools? Outlaw them
In the year of President Barack H. Obama, our urban public schools in this country are in a sorry state. Sure, there have been some limited local successes; the Rochester City School District (RCSD) can quote chapter and verse about which schools have seen marginal scholastic increases over the past several years. But everyone knows, whether by fact or gut check, what the statistics bare out: Suburban districts in Monroe County far and away provide a better education than does the RCSD.
Integration efforts in question
Twenty years after eight suburban school districts and Minneapolis banded together to promote racial integration, many educators now doubt whether such efforts are working or worthwhile. Some want their money back.
Hearing set in remaining desegregation cases; follows Little Rock ruling
A hearing is set for Monday for two school districts whose desegregation cases have been on hold pending the outcome of the Little Rock School District’s case. A federal appeals panel last week upheld a judge’s ruling that the Little Rock School District had successfully desegregated. The North Little Rock and Pulaski County school districts have been waiting for that decision.
Downsville High demographics make school’s future uncertain
A U.S. district court judge has expressed concern with demographics at Downsville High School while talks of school consolidation spread through Union Parish, Louisiana. The Union Parish School District has asked the state for $1 million of its federal stimulus money to consolidate schools so that it may reduce operating costs for the district.
School diversity elusive
By phasing in new plan, many in Jefferson won’t meet goal initially
Jefferson County’s decision to gradually phase in its new student-assignment plan will leave more than half of its 90 public elementary schools out of compliance with the district’s diversity goals this fall. And many schools could take as long as five years to meet the diversity goals.
Developing news: Unitary status will change PCSSD
The Pulaski County Special School District and North Little Rock School District can now move forward in seeking unitary status after Little Rock School District’s case was upheld Thursday. Although, the Little Rock School District was declared unitary, it must still transfer students to and from North Little Rock and Pulaski County. Once all three districts are out of court and declared unitary, bussing students to achieve racial balance will gradually come to an end. The racial makeup of PCSSD will change. Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Pupil Services Dr. Brenda Bowles predicts the district would see a 5 percent drop in black and white students.
Wake schools get diversity kudos
Conference questions political will
Wake County was praised Thursday as a leader in school integration, but scholars warned that North Carolina’s largest school district might lack the political will to maintain its diversity efforts. Although Wake’s socioeconomic diversity policy and the resulting student reassignments are controversial locally, they have earned the district a high profile nationally.
Little Rock school desegregation order upheld
A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a judge’s ruling that the Little Rock School District has met terms of a long-standing desegregation order.A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled unanimously that a lawyer representing a group of black parents and students did not present sufficient evidence to warrant overturning a 2007 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge William R. Wilson Jr.
News analysis: Is a school rezoning lawsuit near?
There’s been talk of a rezoning lawsuit for almost a year now. And talk may soon turn to action. Leaders of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have threatened litigation since before rezoning measures were passed by Metro Schools’ Board of Education over the summer. Now, local NAACP president Marilyn Robinson says the organization is working on depositions.
Report: Integration lags, even as suburban schools add minorities
The nation’s suburban schools added 3.4 million students to their rolls over the past 15 years – and nearly all of them were minorities, according to a study released Tuesday. Using federal government data, Fry found that minority students made up 99 percent of the increase in suburban school enrollment between the 1993-94 and 2006-07 school years.
High dissed for bad reasons
Since the Supreme Court long ago settled the constitutionality of race-based school segregation, perhaps it should turn its attention to economic apartheid in education. The starkest examples of this economic divide can be found between the city and suburban schools. But even within the suburban jurisdictions, in school systems that are deemed sound, the chasms exist, pitting the old suburbs against the new.
School Board, NAACP clash on hiring
The head of Tangipahoa Parish’s NAACP chapter called on the parish School Board on Tuesday to fill two head football coaching vacancies with black candidates as a “good faith effort” to comply with a federal court order. But school officials had a different version of events in the longstanding school desegregation case and asserted a previously court-ordered, white-black 60/40 ratio was met in the late 1970s and a new hiring criteria without racial mandates can now be used.
Melancon the fighter
Despite tough cases, health problems, judge keeps going
A portrait of abolitionist Frederick Douglass is not usually a staple in a federal courtroom, but things are different in U.S. District Judge Tucker Melancon’s court. Melancon is presiding over the more than 40-year-old desegregation cases in St. Landry and Evangeline parishes. “These types of cases are the most difficult any judge can have, because you affect so many people and you affect people’s most prize possessions – their children,” he said.
School district phasing out minority student transfer
A program that allowed minority students to transfer to schools outside their attendance zones is being phased out now that the Madison County School District (Mississippi) has been released from a federal desegregation order. Now school officials are phasing out the M-to-M program, citing transportation costs.
2007 Orange school rezonings called into question
Superintendent Blocker disappointed, and is seeking answers
At least two Orange County elementary schools that opened in 2007 may not have undergone a proper legal review from a court-ordered citizens committee that is supposed to monitor the racial balance among the district’s campuses.
Orange schools’ biracial-panel gaffe may keep feds’ oversight
A key requirement in a decades-old desegregation case against Orange County public schools went unheeded for years, casting a cloud over district decisions that determined the racial makeup of its schools, where new campuses would be built and, ultimately, where thousands of students would end up attending class. A 1970 federal-court order required that a special biracial citizens committee be created and maintained to monitor the district’s policies affecting racial balance in its schools.
Rezone all Orange schools, NAACP leader says
Piecemeal approach does not ensure fairness, Bracy says
The president of Orange County’s NAACP chapter is challenging public-school leaders to rezone attendance lines for the entire district — an action, he said, that would ensure that all students are treated fairly.
Surge in poorest schools predicted
CMS expects its number of high-poverty campuses to rise from 35 to 59 as families cope with job loss.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s number of extremely high-poverty schools – where at least three-fourths of students get lunch aid for low-income families – will surge from 35 this school year to 59 in August, officials predict. For the first time ever, high schools are expected to crack the 75 percent poverty level. That will bring an infusion of federal money to West Charlotte and the eastside Garinger, but it also opens the possibility that students will eventually be allowed to opt out of those schools if they don’t meet federal test-score goals.
Court weighs state’s duty to English learners
Third grade was a turning point for Miriam Flores’ daughter. On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in an appeal of the case, now called Horne v Flores. Filed by Arizona state legislators and the state superintendent of public instruction, they want to be freed from federal court oversight of the state’s programs for English learners and the obligation to spend potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with lower court rulings.http://www.examiner.com/a-1968251~Court_weighs_state_s_duty_to_English_learners.html
Turning back the clock? Fairfax Magnet School, a model of diversity, could lose its bus service
Children come from near and far to Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences. In all, more than a quarter of students at the campus inside the Capital Beltway travel from neighborhoods elsewhere in Fairfax County. The bus fleet reflects a plan crafted in the early 1990s to draw more middle-class and native English-speaking students to a school that had come to serve almost exclusively poor, immigrant families. The plan has paid off: Today the 950-student school touts a national reputation and a long waiting list of families who vie to be part of the Spanish immersion program or arts and science enrichment.
Avoyelles desegregation status conference set May 12
U.S. District Judge Dee Drell has called for a status conference on the Avoyelles Parish (Louisiana) school system’s desegregation case. The status conference, set for May 12 in Alexandria, follows a telephone conference held Monday between Drell and parties in the case — the Avoyelles Parish School Board, the U.S. Department of Justice and Allen Holmes. Holmes already has stated that he objects to the plan being proposed, while the U.S. Department of Justice was expected to issue its opinion on the plan last week but has not done so thus far.
Schools slipping back to segregation, new book finds
Urban school districts across the country have shifted back to managing segregated schools following the recent lifting of court-ordered desegregation plans, a new book finds.
The book, From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation, was edited by Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development faculty Claire Smrekar and Ellen Goldring and published by Harvard University Press.
RISD seeks to remove court-mandated desegregation
Most RISD (Texas) schools have a racial and ethnic mix of students, but when it comes to teachers in the classroom, the numbers tell a different story. Eighty three percent all teachers for RISD are white.
Judge rules Galveston schools integrated
A federal judge has ruled that the Galveston, TX public school system is racially desegregated, ending a civil rights lawsuit dating back to 1959.
Board seeks lifting of desegregation order
The Richardson (Texas) school board voted unanimously Monday night to ask a federal court to lift a desegregation order imposed in 1970. The chair of the district Biracial Advisory Committee, created by the order, told the board that significant progress had been made but that there were still areas of concern.
DISD trustees postpone vote on cutting funding to learning centers
The Dallas school board postponed a controversial vote on cutting learning-center funding after hearing concerns from some trustees and angry members of the public Thursday night. The schools, created to provide good neighborhood campuses for black students who had been bused to predominantly white schools, would, in effect, be reduced to the same resources as regular schools.
Morehouse schools weigh closure after mill
The Morehouse Parish School Board is considering closing schools to make up for tax revenues it will lose because of the shutdown of the International Paper mill at Bastrop. The contingency plan approved by the board is expected to save about $3 million in operating expenses. It would close two elementary schools, cut 53 positions and rezone students. Since the system operates under a long-standing federal desegregation order, it must gain U.S. Justice Department approval before redrawing attendance zones.
Consolidation decision now in hands of judge
Lawrence County Schools (Georgia) Superintendent Heath Grimes took the stand for more than five hours last week during a school consolidation hearing at the Federal Courthouse in Decatur. The school hearing was held to examine what ramifications of consolidating Lawrence County schools would have on the 1966 court case, Patricia Horton v. Lawrence County Board of Education.
Judge approves consolidation
Mt. Hope, Speake, Hazlewood high schools will close
After months of debates, hearings and board meetings, the plan to consolidate Lawrence County schools will go through.
School diversity research to be unveiled
Monday marks the 20th anniversary of a lawsuit by parents and children from Hartford and West Hartford who challenged the racial and economic isolation in Connecticut’s capital city schools. A panel at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford will discuss new research on a voluntary, regional school desegregation program that was developed in the wake of the Sheff vs. O’Neill case.
Lead lawyer says desegregation process made
Civil rights attorney John Brittain says progress has been made in Connecticut toward desegregating and improving Hartford schools, two decades after a group of parents and their children sued the state.
Diversity flocks to suburbs
Middle Tennessee schools reflect ethnic flight
Families of different ethnicities and races are increasingly moving away from city life into the suburbs to look for quieter neighborhoods and more affordable homes. As they do, the diversity they bring to the community also appears in the schools. These predominantly white school districts in the Nashville area have witnessed the shift since the early 1990s and have seen an increase in diversity. Rutherford and Sumner counties’ school districts have seen the largest growth in the share of minority students.
Choices grow for kids in former busing zone in Wichita
More families in neighborhoods previously affected by the Wichita school district’s busing for integration policy might have choices in where to send their elementary school students next year. A district and community task force recently recommended extending and expanding the current busing policy. They said this will give them additional time and information to develop a solution to ensure racial diversity in schools.
Board: School has met criteria
The Evangeline Parish School Board is seeking partial freedom from federal oversight in the parish’s long-running desegregation case. The School Board has filed court documents seeking a federal judge’s OK that the school system has met desegregation requirements in its transportation services and extracurricular activities and in the assignment of teachers and staff.
Desegregation order in Texas
The Ector County Independent School District’s (Texas) magnet program, district boundaries and majority-to-minority transfers are all issues that could be impacted if ECISD is released from a 1982 desegregation order.
Persistent Racial Gap Seen in Students’ Test Scores
The achievement gap between white and minority students has not narrowed in recent years, despite the focus of the No Child Left Behind law on improving black and Hispanic scores, according to results of a federal test considered to be the nation’s best measure of long-term trends in math and reading proficiency. But nearly four decades of scores on the same test show that their most important academic gains came not in recent years, but during the desegregation efforts of the 1970s and 1980s.
City magnet school overhaul weighed
The city school board today will vote on overhauling admission procedures at the magnet schools and programs created about 30 years ago to help desegregate the Pittsburgh Public Schools. If the board approves the overhaul, the district for the 2010-11 school year will abandon the practice of reserving up to half of magnet slots for black students. Instead, the district will try to promote diversity with a weighted lottery that gives students extra chances for admission for meeting certain criteria, such as qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches or living in proximity to the magnet school.
Judge won’t end Champaign consent decree yet
The Champaign school district’s consent decree will not end June 30. Instead, according to an order issued Thursday afternoon by the federal judge overseeing the case, termination of the decree is suspended until several pending motions can be heard.
TUSD post-desegregation proposal includes ‘first- choice’ schools
What could be a final step in getting Tucson Unified School District released from a three-decades-old desegregation court order was approved by the board Tuesday. The TUSD Post-Unitary Status Plan was authorized for submission to U.S. District Judge David Bury by a 4-1 vote, with clerk of the board Mark Stegeman saying he had questions about the plan that should be addressed, “although overall I like it very much.”
Minneapolis superintendent’s statement
Reports from wide-ranging sources of information about a recent incident at Burroughs Community School in the Minneapolis Public School District and an outcry from community members of all different backgrounds with varying beliefs and conflicting opinions have brought deep-seated tensions and evidence of racial polarization in our community into front and center view. This is a painful picture to witness and we must not ignore it.
Wake can force all-year schedule
Schools’ tactics may fuel election
Wake County school leaders now have the legal authority to force students to attend year-round schools even if their parents don’t want them to.
31 specialized school campuses in Dallas face funding cuts
Dallas schools trustees on Tuesday discussed the possibility of cutting funds to 31 specialized campuses next year or risk losing $105 million in federal funding. To be eligible for the federal money, the district would need to cut funding at learning centers, vanguards, academies and magnet schools because per-pupil spending district-wide is not equitable.
Angry parents seek school assignment transfers
Angry parents questioning JCPS placement of elementary students
Jefferson County’s new student-assignment plan is prompting hundreds of angry parents to ask for transfers because their child is being sent to a different elementary school than they requested. A week after notices were sent out for roughly 12,000 incoming kindergartners and first-graders, officials with Jefferson County Public Schools are being assailed with hundreds of calls and transfer requests from parents questioning their assigned schools.
School board approves plan on integration
Despite vocal opposition, the Jefferson County Board of Education last night approved the final piece of its new, more diverse school-integration plan, capping a two-year effort to replace a desegregation policy that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down because it relied too heavily on race.
School district still weighing assignment options
It may be another year before the San Francisco Unified School District implements a new student assignment process, but district officials still want help narrowing down a list of assignment simulations so they can pick the right one. The eight simulations released last month range from a limited choice option that would mean children attend a school close to home to a complete choice option much like the current system, which doesn’t assign students based on geography.
School contracts lack diversity
Roanoke’s school system works with just a few minority- and women-owned businesses.
In the 18 months since Roanoke school officials committed to do more business with companies owned by women and minorities, those businesses still represent a negligible fraction of the district’s total spending.
Tangi desegregation case lawyer wants out
One of three plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Tangipahoa Parish public school desegregation case is seeking to withdraw from the case, citing “irreconcilable issues,” court records say. Gideon T. Carter III, a Baton Rouge lawyer, has asked U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle to withdraw him from the case.
|Please send us your news
Please send reports, documents, court decisions, comments or suggestions for topics to: The Integration Report, Editor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, at email@example.com.
We are looking for any information regarding changes to transportation routes that may adversely affect racial diversity in light of increasing fuel costs. Please let us know if these issues are being discussed in your communities.
The Civil Rights Project received the following notice regarding grants to assist districts with designing student assignment plans to pursue diversity.
U.S. Department of Education to Award Grants for Student Assignment Policies Facilitating Diversity
Deadline: August 21, 2009
A notice published in the Federal Register on July 22 invites local educational agencies (school districts) to apply to the U.S. Department of Education for competitive grants to arrange and pay for technical assistance in preparing, adopting, or modifying, and implementing student assignment plans that will help them avoid racial isolation and the resegregation of their schools, and to facilitate student diversity within the parameters of the current law.
Funding for these one-time awards totals $2.5M. The Department of Education anticipates awarding approximately 10 grants, with an average award of $225,000. The application period is open only until August 21; please share with information promptly with any potential applicants.
The notice is available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-17492.htm
Additional information – including the text of the notice and the application package – will be available soon at http://www.ed.gov/programs/tasap/index.html
For further information, contact Fran Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-205-9198.
Food for Thought
Submitted by Bob Tate of the National Education Association
“It’s hardly possible to overstate the value, in the present state of human improvement, of placing human beings in contact with other persons dissimilar to themselves, and with modes of thought and action unlike those with which they are familiar. Such communication has always been, and is peculiarly in the present age, one of the primary sources of progress.”
–John Stuart Mill, 1848, quoted pp. 281-282 of Bill Bishop’s provocative read The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart.
Additional Resources for School Integration
From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation
Edited by Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development faculty Claire Smrekar and Ellen Goldring and published by Harvard University Press.
“Bringing Children Together: Magnet Schools and Public Housing Redevelopment”
Available at http://www.prrac.org/pdf/bringing_children_together.pdf, and will be up shortly on the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Web site (http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/Home.aspx). The report stems from a February 2008 conference on public housing redevelopment, magnet schools and justice reinvestment.
“Court-Mandated Education Reform: The San Francisco Experience and the Shaping of Educational Policy after Seattle-Louisville and Ho v. SFUSD“.
Research article examining the arc of desegregation in San Francisco Unified, written by former court monitor, Stuart Biegel, with important implications for school districts around the country in the wake of the PICS decision. http://sjcrcl.stanford.edu/contents.html
Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School
The New Press announces the publication of Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School, edited by Mica Pollock. How should teachers and parents respond when children ask challenging questions about race? How should teachers handle the use of the “N-word” or discuss “achievement gaps” with colleagues? How can teachers avoid unwittingly making children of color speak on behalf of their entire group? While numerous books exist about race and race theory, Everyday Antiracism puts theory into practice by offering specific strategies for combating racism in the classroom. This book is available to order through Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
Sheff Web Site, http://www.sheffmovement.org/index.shtml – This Web provides information regarding the Sheff desegregation case in Connecticut. To view the results of a recent statewide poll revealing broad based support for interdistrict desegregation programs, please visit http://www.sheffmovement.org/pdf/PollPressRelease6-11-08.pdf.
The School Law Blog, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/ – Visit the School Law Blog for an important discussion of news and analysis of legal developments affecting schools, educators, and parents. Mark Walsh has been covering legal issues in education for more than 15 years for Education Week. He writes about school-related cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and in lower courts.
Still Looking to the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration; A Manual for Parents, Educators and Advocates. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP) are distributing the 2nd edition of their K-12 school integration manual which addresses the practical questions of what can be done to promote diversity and address the harms of racial isolation in schools.
To download the manual, visit http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu or http://www.naacpldf.org.
To request hard copies or CDs of the manual and supplemental materials, please send an e-mail with your contact information and the number of copies requested to email@example.com.
Preserving Integration Options for Latino Students. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP/PDC) are currently disseminating their collaboratively-written guide for parents, advocates and educators interested in promoting diversity and addressing the harms of Latino racial isolation in their schools.
To download the manual or for additional information, please visit CRP/PDF’s Web site at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu.
The Integration Report – Staff Members
Editor: Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
Editorial Assistant: Jared Sanchez
Editorial Committee: Erica Frankenberg, Gary Orfield, Laurie Russman
Webmaster: John Khuu
The Integration Report is produced by the Initiative on School Integration at The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, and is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.