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The racial segregation of schools has been intensifying because the segregation of neighborhoods has been intensifying.
Desegregation efforts, he stated, are impermissible if students are racially isolated, not as the result of government policy but because of societal discrimination, economic characteristics, or what Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, termed “any number of innocent private decisions, including voluntary housing choices.” In Roberts’ terminology, commonly accepted by policymakers from across the political spectrum, constitutionally forbidden segregation established by federal, state or local government action is , with no constitutional remedy – not only in Louisville and Seattle, but in all metropolitan areas, North and South. Durable effects of concentrated disadvantage on verbal ability among African-American children.. Health indicators for preadolescent school-age children.
Even the liberal dissenters in the Louisville-Seattle case, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, agreed with this characterization. Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, University of Washington.
Sharkey’s truly startling finding, however, is this: Children in poor neighborhoods whose mothers grew up in middle-class neighborhoods score an average of 102, slightly above the mean and only slightly below the average scores of children whose families lived in middle-class neighborhoods for two generations. Sharkey concludes that “the parent’s environment during [her own] childhood may be more important than the child’s own environment.” He calculates that “living in poor neighborhoods over two consecutive generations reduces children’s cognitive skills by roughly eight or nine points … Compare to overall national rates in 2007 (in percents): all, 68; whites, 75; blacks, 47; Hispanics (all generations), 50 (U.
But children who live in middle-class neighborhoods—yet whose mothers grew up in poor neighborhoods—score an average of only 98 (Sharkey 2013, p. roughly equivalent to missing two to four years of schooling” (Sharkey 2013, pp. Integrating disadvantaged black students into schools where more privileged students predominate can narrow the black-white achievement gap.
It must be addressed primarily by improving the social and economic conditions that bring too many children to school unprepared to take advantage of what even the best schools have to offer.
There are two aspects to this conclusion: As these and many other disadvantages accumulate, lower social class children inevitably have lower average achievement than middle class children, even with the highest quality instruction.Evidence is especially impressive for long term outcomes for adolescents and young adults who have attended integrated schools (e.g., Guryan, 2001; Johnson, 2011). But the conventional wisdom of contemporary education policy notwithstanding, there is no evidence that segregated schools with poorly performing students can be “turned around” while remaining racially isolated. Breyer argued that school districts should be permitted voluntarily to address racial homogeneity, even if not constitutionally required to do so. But he accepted that for the most part, Louisville and Seattle schools were not segregated by state action and thus not constitutionally required to desegregate. Certainly, Northern schools have not been segregated by policies assigning blacks to some schools and whites to others – at least not since the 1940s; they are segregated because their neighborhoods are racially homogenous. Abstract Social and economic disadvantage – not only poverty, but a host of associated conditions – depresses student performance.Concentrating students with these disadvantages in racially and economically homogenous schools depresses it further.But only 40 percent of white families who lived in the poorest quarter of neighborhoods a generation ago still do so (Sharkey, 2013, p. Black neighborhood poverty is thus more multigenerational while white neighborhood poverty is more episodic; black children in low-income neighborhoods are more likely than others to have parents who also grew up in such neighborhoods.The implications for children’s chances of success are dramatic: For academic performance, Sharkey uses a scale like the familiar IQ measure, where 100 is the mean and roughly 70 percent of children score about average, between 85 and 115.It has become conventional for policymakers to assert that the residential isolation of low-income black children is now “,” resulting from racially-motivated and explicit public policy whose effects endure to the present.Without awareness of the history of state-sponsored residential segregation, policymakers are unlikely to take meaningful steps to understand or fulfill the constitutional mandate to remedy the racial isolation of neighborhoods, or the school segregation that flows from it. We cannot substantially improve the performance of the poorest African American students – the “truly disadvantaged,” in William Julius Wilson’s phrase – by school reform alone.