And the Trump administration’s school-choice policies will only make the problem worse.
More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, the progress made toward dismantling segregated schools in the South, once the most integrated region in the country, seems to be steadily falling apart.
A report released this week by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project and Penn State University’s Center for Education and Civil Rights finds that in 2014, more than one in three black students attended a school in the South that was intensely racially segregated, meaning a school where 90 percent of students were racial minorities—a 56 percent rise from 1980. The report also finds that the number of Latino students enrolled in public schools in the South surpassed black enrollment for the first time ever, making up 27 percent of the student body. That’s significant, as the percentage of Latino students in the South attending an intensely racially segregated school is also on the rise—42 percent in 2014, up from 37 percent in 1980.
The result, the report notes, is that the typical student faces decreasing exposure to a race other than his or her own. The average black public-school student in the South in the 2014-2015 school year went to a school that was 27 percent white, while the average white public-school student attended a school where black students made up 15 percent of those enrolled. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, segregation doesn’t get any better when poverty is taken into account: Black, Latino, and low-income students saw a rapid increase in exposure to poverty in the last decade as compared to their white and Asian peers.