ERIC Number: ED419029
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Recent Changes in School Desegregation. ERIC/CUE Digest Number 133.
This digest discusses some of the major trends and changes that are taking place in school desegregation in the 1990s. One of the most prominent current trends is the increasing number of court cases that release school districts from court supervision of their desegregation efforts (known as granting "unitary" status). A second important trend is increased attention to access to education and the academic performance of minority children. Several pivotal Supreme Court cases during the 1990s have spelled out procedures for court approval of the dismantling of school desegregation plans. These include: (1) Board of Education of Oklahoma v. Dowell (1991); (2) Freemen v. Pitts (1992); (3) Missouri v. Jenkins (1995); and (4) the Connecticut state case Sheff v. O'Neill (1996). When a school district is freed from court supervision, it is often free to send students back to their neighborhood schools. Although many people believe in the concept of the neighborhood school, the reality is that many urban students return to schools that are segregated and inferior. Researchers with the Harvard Project on School Desegregation have found that school segregation has increased steadily over the past 15 years, particularly in nonsouthern states. It is clear that desegregation has little relevance for many of the nation's largest cities. A number of urban districts are one-sixth or less white, and lack enough white students to desegregate meaningfully. Even within desegregated schools, many argue that segregation still exists under the guise of tracking. Concern about the achievement gap between minority and white students will probably lead to an era of desegregation cases that focus on within-school integration. Monitoring equity within schools has been difficult, and has sparked interest in measures of equity, including those of achievement, extent of special education, grade retention rates, access to services, and other institutional characteristics. The best hope for plaintiffs who wish school districts to continue under court supervision is to focus on the issue of "educational vestiges," such as within-school segregation and the academic performance gap between minorities and whites. Efforts to improve the education of students of color must focus on effective school reform regardless of whether or not a school is physically desegregated. (Contains 13 references.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Court Litigation, Desegregation Litigation, Desegregation Plans, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Inner City, Racial Balance, School Desegregation, School Resegregation, United States History, Urban Problems, Urban Schools
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Box 40, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027 (free).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.