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ERIC Number: ED558743
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 90
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Is Opportunity Knocking or Slipping Away? Racial Diversity and Segregation in Pennsylvania
Kotok, Stephen; Reed, Katherine
Civil Rights Project - Proyecto Derechos Civiles
Historically, Pennsylvania has struggled to integrate its public schools, especially with much of the racial diversity concentrated in urban regions. Starting in the 1960s, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) was the state's enforcing body to combat school desegregation, but since the early 1980s, when it comes to education, the PHRC has shifted its focus away from segregation towards other forms of discrimination such as unequal discipline, lack of services for disabled students, and sexual harassment. In the past, the Commission took on several school segregation cases in the largest urban areas of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and enforced the state rules in smaller communities in order to integrate public schools. The desegregation cases in Pennsylvania ran the gamut from state court mandates to locally devised voluntary plans, and demonstrated that challenges remained in integrating Pennsylvania's public schools. Evidence from this report shows that, although segregation in Pennsylvania persists and is increasing according to some measures, there is little action aimed at creating more racially diverse schools. This report investigates trends in school segregation in Pennsylvania over the last two decades by examining concentration, exposure, and evenness measures by both race and class. After exploring the overall enrollment patterns and segregation trends at the state level, this report focuses on Pennsylvania's major metro areas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to analyze similar measures of segregation for each metropolitan area. These two metropolitan areas differ greatly in their demographic composition, with Pittsburgh being one of the whitest major metropolitan areas in the country, having virtually no Latino or Asian students, while Philadelphia reports a much more diverse population. However, it was found that both metropolitan areas face similar challenges in terms of segregation between different school districts. By and large, these findings highlight the deepening segregation by race and class of Pennsylvania's public school students. These trends toward increasing segregation for the last two decades will undoubtedly have lasting negative impacts both for minority communities and for the community at large. This report provides multiple recommendations for those who are seeking to address resegregation in Pennsylvania's schools. Appended to the report are: (1) Additional Data Tables; and (2) Data Sources and Methodology. [This report was written with John Kucsera and Gary Orfield. This is the ninth of thirteen in a series of special reports on public school segregation in Eastern states. These studies explore trends in enrollment and school segregation patterns from 1989 to 2010 at the state and regional levels, including various metro areas for each state.]
Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles. 8370 Math Sciences, P.O. Box 951521, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521. Tel: 310-267-5562; Fax: 310-206-6293; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of California, Los Angeles. Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania