Are American Schools Returning to Segregation?

By Patrik Jonsson ; Stacy Teicher Khadaroos | The Christian Science Monitor, June 18, 2010 | Go to article overview

Are American Schools Returning to Segregation?


Patrik Jonsson ; Stacy Teicher Khadaroos, The Christian Science Monitor


The Supreme Court launched the desegregation of schools with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Now, once diverse districts like Goldsboro, N.C., are reverting to segregation, concerning civil rights advocates.

Fronted by tall, proud columns, Goldsboro High in North Carolina was once a flourishing school reflecting the city's 50-50 black- white mix. But the nearly 100-year-old school has verged on academic failure in recent years.

Particularly troubling to civil rights advocates, the student population has become racially and economically isolated - to the point that the high school is now a symbol of "resegregation" in America's classrooms.

In the central attendance zone for Wayne County's schools - a zone that includes Goldsboro High - 93 percent of the students are African-American, and 90 percent are low-income, according to county statistics. By contrast, another attendance zone in the county is 69 percent white, 41 percent low-income.

This past December, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a civil rights complaint against the Wayne County Board of Education. Now, a federal investigation is under way to assess charges that the school board has maintained a segregated, high-poverty attendance area rife with educational inequities.

Earlier this month North Carolina Governor Beverly Purdue told members of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus that the state was "in a war" against school resegregation.

School-system officials blame both white and black flight for Goldsboro High School's educational slide.

Yet Wayne County is not an obvious setting for concerns about resegregation. Amid the pines and hog farms of eastern North Carolina, it's home to the racially diverse Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Black and white residents of Goldsboro mingle easily as they pick up tomatoes and collards at a small farmers' market.

The lack of integration at the high school surprised the Rev. William Barber II when he moved here in the early 1990s.

"If you can't get it right in Goldsboro ... you can't get it right anywhere in the country," says Dr. Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP.

The case is a test of how aggressively the Obama administration will pursue such complaints. As such, it could resonate well beyond Goldsboro.

"I'm hopeful that ... other school [districts] in the state and potentially around the country would see that it's no longer acceptable to allow the students in these high-poverty, racially identifiable schools to get a lesser-quality education [than] their white, middle- or upper-class peers," says Mark Dorosin, an adjunct law professor at the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Nationally, 39 percent of African-American students attend intensely segregated schools, where at least 90 percent are students of color, according to an analysis of 2007 data by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. And it's no longer simply a black-white issue: Forty percent of Latinos are in such schools as well.

In North Carolina, 18 percent of black students and 13 percent of Latino students attended these intensely segregated schools in 2008.

"Resegregation is a national trend [that has been building] for over a decade," says John C. Brittain, a law professor at the University of the District of Columbia.

Among the reasons: white families moving out of central cities or removing their children from the public schools there; school districts being released from court-ordered plans, or abandoning voluntary plans, to promote integration after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision; and a series of Supreme Court decisions since the early 1990s that have limited the tools districts can use for integration.

The most recent Supreme Court case came in 2007 and struck down integration plans in Seattle and Jefferson County, Ky.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Are American Schools Returning to Segregation?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.