Should integration be a measure of school quality?

More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education legally ended segregation in public schools, many districts have struggled to integrate, leaving some schools as racially divided as they were in the 1950’s. In Mississippi, private schools, often referred to as “segregation academies,” were established in communities across the state in response to actual or anticipated desegregation orders. There are more than 35 private academies in the state that opened between 1964 and 1972, and all of these schools enroll fewer than two percent black students. Many of the high-poverty, mostly black public schools in Mississippi are underfunded and under resourced, and some experts say this can affect children in a variety of ways. Can integration improve schools?

Hechinger’s Jackie Mader appeared on MSNBC to talk about this issue.

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As Mississippi moves closer to passing legislation that would expand charter schools in the state, the debate has created a racial divide. Advocates say charter schools can provide a quality education for children in a state that consistently posts some of the lowest test scores in the nation. But opponents of the publically funded, privately run schools say that charters, which can be racially unbalanced, could become another form of segregation academies.

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POSTED BY ON February 4, 2013

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We are facing this in the gentrifying neighborhoods of Brooklyn, NY. Our neighborhood public schools have only recently become de-segregated, but just as our neighborhood public schools are becoming genuine models for diversity and community building, a new charter school chain (“Citizens of the World Charter Schools) looking for diversity (read white middle class and affluent children) has been approved. “Citizens of the World” has been marketing directly to the white affluent community and will most definitely re-segregate our integrated schools and ensure segregation in our public schools that are still socio-economically and racially isolated.

We must be VERY careful of the movement to de-segregate charter schools. Even with the best of intentions, we can be encouraging segregated schools.

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