Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise Image Strip of Linda Brown walking to school, girl taking test at desk, Nettie Hunt and daughter with newspaper headline on steps of Supreme Court, present day children raising hands, children at computers
Long Road to Brown
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How Integrated are we, really?

• Although whites comprised two-thirds of U.S. students in 2001, the typical white student attends a school where four out of five children are white. Most black and Latino students attend schools where at least two-thirds of the students are black and Latino, and most students are from their own group.

• Asians are the most integrated group, and most likely to attend multi-racial schools with a significant presence of three or more racial groups.

• Latinos, for whom segregation statistics have never improved, confront very serious levels of segregation by race and poverty — particularly in the west, where non-English-speaking Latinos tend to be segregated in schools with each other.

• American public schools are now only 60 percent white nationwide, and nearly one-fourth of U.S. students are in states with a majority of nonwhite students. However, outside the south and southwest, most white students have little contact with minority students.

• School desegregation has been greatest in parts of the South. Desegregation efforts in the north have been weak, uncertain and constrained by the U. S. Supreme Court. In comparison to the rest of the nation, there were never significant desegregation efforts in the northeast.

• Only 15 percent of highly-segregated white schools have student bodies living in concentrated poverty. Some 88 percent of highly-segregated minority schools have student populations living in concentrated poverty.

• Minority students who attend more integrated schools have higher levels of academic achievement as most measured by test scores.

• In the decade since the U.S. Supreme Court's 1991 ruling authorizing a return to neighborhood schools — even if it would result in re-segregation — there has been a major increase in segregation in many districts. However, segregation does not approach the level of the pre-civil rights south.

• The ending of court desegregation orders coincided in many areas with sharp drops in the proportion of white students — immigration, age structure and fertility levels factored into the changes in racial composition.

• There has been substantial slippage toward segregation in most states that had highly desegregated schools in 1991. Based on 2001 data, the most integrated state for Americans is Kentucky. The most desegregated states for Latinos are in the Northwest. In some states with very low black populations, school segregation is soaring

• In 1991, schools in the western United States were 59 percent white; today the entire region is less than half white. Asian enrollment is now larger than black enrollment and Latinos are more than one third of total enrollment.

• The most segregated states in 2001 for black students were New York, Michigan, Illinois and California.

• Mass migration of black and Latino families to suburbs have produced newly segregated and unequal schools.

• Rural and small town school districts are, on average, the nation's most integrated for both African Americans and Latinos.

Source of Information: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University

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