In 2008, only 281 school districts nationwide had more than 25,000 students; 9,698 had fewer than 2,500 students. So the majority develops a tolerance for the minority--ideally." All rights reserved. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. ", {{filterTypeLookup[searchItem.filterType]}}, {{searchTypeLookup[searchItem.searchType]}}, Primary Sources (Literary and Historical), Full access to this article and over 14 million more from academic journals, magazines, and newspapers, Access to powerful writing and research tools. The Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that schools can't keep kids out based on race. USA TODAY, Magazine article Most parents want integration to occur naturally and are optimistic that things can improve. Meanwhile, 69% of black and 60% of white parents favor "redrawing district lines to combine mostly black and mostly white districts into one district.".
(See what makes a school great.). Education analyst Rick Hess has likened their resistance to zoning changes to the way NFL season-ticket holders would react if their team suddenly announced that seating would be general admission. Low-income students are more challenging to educate, and schools serving them often have fewer enrichment activities, highly effective teachers and other key educational resources — even in places like Montgomery County, which has been sharply focused on addressing the achievement gap over the past decade.

"Too often, the schools work so hard to achieve integration that they … It is even harder to detect an appetite among whites for invigorating integration efforts: 27% want the U.S. to do more; 47% believe things are about right; and 17% feel they should be scaled back. Consequently, while the intangible benefits of more-diverse schools are obvious, the academic results from economic-integration initiatives are mixed. If parents see school integration as a laudable concept, why don't more of them rally to its cause? © 2019 TIME USA, LLC. Another reason integration seems to work is shown in a 2014 study by Rucker Johnson, a public-policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley, ", But there are more than 13,000 superintendents across the nation, many of whom presumably would be less surprised at the challenges Weast highlighted. That's why so many in the reform community see issues such as improving teacher effectiveness, providing a better curriculum and expanding high-performing charter schools in underserved communities as more impactful and immediate steps than grand schemes to change housing policy or school-district boundaries. Perhaps it's time to acknowledge the limitations of those approaches and double-down on the most promising efforts to bring good schools to students who need them — now. ").

The U.S. has spent decades trying different strategies to bring low-income students to good schools. The study looked at about 850 low-income students whose families took advantage of housing programs that enabled them to live in affluent parts of Maryland's Montgomery County. The unprecedented transparency required by the No Child Left Behind Act has laid bare the stark inequities that exist within schools.

"Integration is positive and productive and does yield well-balanced children," maintains a black parent in Raleigh, N.C. "In the ideal situation, you have all the children interacting and learning together. In terms of what happens in the classroom, it's worth noting that more-affluent schools are not uniformly good schools, nor are they consistently effective at educating low-income students. We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. When polled, about 80% of black and 66% of white parents say it is very or somewhat important.

The glaring problem from a policy perspective, however, is that low-income families tend to live in the same neighborhoods, and dramatically changing housing patterns — or school-zoning boundaries — as a large-scale reform measure is impractical. This has a variety of consequences, including putting good schools out of reach for many students.
We can't simply wish these boundaries away, and in many of these districts, the poverty is so widespread that the mathematics of economic integration don't work — there are not enough non-poor students. For instance, when Jerry Weast, the superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, noted the logistical challenges of economically integrating a lot of schools, he was castigated by Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation, a leading advocate for economic integration of schools. AND, OR, NOT, “ ”, ( ), We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests.

Parents believe that efforts to integrate have distracted the schools from what should be their main priority--academic achievement. Whites worry that integration will bring troubled kids into local schools; blacks fear their children will be thrown into hostile and contentious school environments.

Kahlenberg wrote in the Washington Post that "Dr. Weast's suggestion that pursuing economic school integration is not possible in the real world would surprise superintendents in almost 80 school districts nationally that use socioeconomic status as a factor in deciding where students attend school. See our, Read a limited number of articles each month, You consent to the use of cookies and tracking by us and third parties to provide you with personalized ads, Unlimited access to washingtonpost.com on any device, Unlimited access to all Washington Post apps, No on-site advertising or third-party ad tracking. 128, No. If that's the way it is, that's the way it is. We rely on readers like you to uphold a free press. With the conspicuous exception of busing, policies intended to achieve integration draw support from clear majorities of both African -American and white parents. And of course, there are plenty of schools that demonstrate that high poverty rates and low achievement are not inexorably linked. School of Thought, his education column for TIME.com, appears every Thursday. In Massachusetts, where school districts can choose whether to accept transfer students from other districts, only about half do.

However, they would be missing an important piece of the puzzle. In most cases, there simply were not enough good schools near concentrations of low-income students — and when there were open seats in those schools, competition for them was intense. Poor and minority youngsters often lag far behind overall averages — those gaps are a prime reason that even some relatively affluent schools are failing to meet the law's performance standards. This content is currently not available in your region. School integration in the United States is the process (also known as desegregation) of ending race -based segregation within American public and private schools. In addition to geographic realities, parents are not broadly supportive of ambitious transfer schemes or overly restrictive enrollment policies that constrain their choices.

(While the systemic shortchanging of minority students in public schools is increasingly getting attention, poor white students are systemically underserved as well, which points to yet another benefit of focusing on class rather than race.) Over the course of seven years, the high-poverty students attending low-poverty schools had better outcomes than their peers who attended schools that had greater numbers of poor students. Please enable cookies on your web browser in order to continue. For example, 60% of black and 59% of white parents favor achieving integration through magnet schools that "attract high-achieving white kids to mostly black schools by offering talented and gifted programs." And many of today's economic-integration initiatives are modest in size or scope while the scale of educational failure for low-income youngsters is not — only about 10% of low-income students earn a college degree by age 24. Parents also believe integrated schools could bring concrete benefits: 86% of black and 74% of white parents say integration would mean a better chance that all kids will have good schools. They value integrated schools because they believe their children and the country as a whole will be better able to handle the diversity of today's society.

Our schools remain relatively segregated places because American housing remains relatively segregated by income and race.

(See "Summer Programs Keep Kids' Minds Sharp."). Just a slim majority of black parents (52%) say the nation should do more to integrate schools; 38% feel current efforts are about right; and eight percent believe that less should be done. Specifically, parents who are paying the high property taxes that often accompany high-performing public schools are zealously protective of access to that amenity.

Compounding this problem is the fact that large school districts like Montgomery County, which has more than 141,000 students, are not the norm.