Thursday, May 22, 2014

Study Finds that California's Students are More Racially Segregated Than Ever

Plaintiff Sylvia Mendez (in Mendez v. Westminster)  (image: Army Corps of Engineers)

As we remember Mendez v. Westminster, a precursor to Brown v. Board of Education, the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles released a report this week finding that California students are more racially segregated than ever. The report lists its key findings as  

 - California has had an extremely dramatic increase in the segregation of Latinos, who on average attended schools that were 54 percent white in 1970, but now attend schools that are 84 percent nonwhite.

- In 1993, black and Latino students were in schools with 52% and 58% poor children, respectively, and no racial/ethnic group attended schools of overwhelming poverty, on average; by 2012, blacks, on average, attended a school that was two-thirds poor children and Latinos a school more than 70% poor.

- Black and Latino students attend schools that on average have more than two-thirds poor students, while whites and Asians typically attend schools with a majority of middle-class students.

- The typical black student in California today attends a school with more than 2.5 times as many Latinos as blacks, thus making them a minority within a school dominated by another disadvantaged group.

- Latino and African-African-American students are isolated in schools with lower graduation rates, less availability of college preparatory courses, the overuse of suspensions and the number of experienced teachers.  By contrast, almost half of Asian American students and about 40% of white students attend schools that rank in the top 20% of Academic Performance Index test scores.

- The most segregated of the state’s twenty largest school districts are Los Angeles Unified, Santa Ana Unified, San Bernardino Unified and Fontana Unified (near San Bernardino).   School districts that are among the most integrated and diverse are in the Sacramento area and Clovis, in the Fresno area.

 - The authors point to these less segregated school districts in California, and stress their value to policymakers seeking models for other communities.  The report details a half-century of desegregation research showing the major costs of segregation and the variety of benefits of schools that are attended by all races.

Read Segregating California’s Future: Inequality and its Alternative 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education here.

Studies and Reports | Permalink


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