American School Board Journal June 2014 : Page 26

student achievement. A study by the Century Founda-tion, for example, found that low-income students who were enrolled in affluent elementary schools did much better than similarly low-income students attending high-poverty schools. Some suggest that low-income students are influ-enced by the higher aspirations of affluent students who are thinking ahead to college, and by the higher expecta-tions that teachers hold for these students. A strong link exists between family income and race in the nation, which may explain why highly segregated students—of-ten from low-income families—gain subtle advantages from more integrated settings. To Barbara Seals Nevergold, president of the Buffalo, N.Y., school board, school leaders need to think hard about how diversity should be defined—and its role in education policymaking. “Diversity should mean more than cultural or ethnic diversity. It has to do with levels of achievement,” she says. “Having students in classes where you have dif-ferent levels of achievement, where you see individuals who achieve and who essentially provide some example or incentive or influence on their peers to achieve. We never talk about that. But I think that’s an important issue about diversity that needs discussion.” Yet the same obstacles to integrating schools by race will hamper efforts to promote socioeconomic diver-sity. What’s more, the growth of charter schools may be adding a new wrinkle. In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, the number of white-majority char-ter schools rose from 11 to 37 between 2000 and 2010, raising concerns that charters may be the 21st century venue for white flight, reports the New York Times . A more disturbing trend may be how charters harden the segregation of black students, in part because so many charters have been established in urban areas. “Charter schools are more racially isolated than traditional schools in virtually every state and large metropolitan area,” ob-serves a 2012 report by the Civil Rights Project. What’s more, because charters often are located in urban areas, “black students in charter schools are far more likely than their traditional public school counter-parts to be educated in intensely segregated settings.” THE CHALLENGE OF POVERTY In the end, no one is suggesting that racially segregated BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION TIMELINE Plessy ruling U.S. Supreme Court embraces “separate but equal” policy, of-fering legal protection for school segregation. Public opinion Almost one-third of all Americans express support for integrated schools. In Southern states, however, inte-gration has the support of 2 percent of the populace. Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court bans school segregation, declaring separate schools “inherently unequal” and pushing the nation into a tumultuous pol-icy debate over integration. Public opinion Nearly half of Americans express support for integrated schools. In the South, 15 percent now agree that blacks and whites should sit in the same classrooms. Little Rock protests The 101st Airborne Division and National Guard are called to the Arkansas capital to provide protection for nine black students integrating Central High School. Public opinion Nearly three-quarters of Americans— including 31 percent of Southerners—voice support for integration. 1896 1940 1927 1947 Gong Lum v. Rice Chinese student can be defined as non-white for segregation purposes. Westminster School Dist. v. Mendez A federal appeals court strikes down segregated schools for Mexican Americans. 1954 1955 Brown II High court calls for school desegregation “with all deliberate speed.” 1956 National Guard called The governor of Ten-nessee calls out the National Guard after white protestors seek to block desegregation of a high school. 1957 1959 Washington, D.C., march A crowd of 25,000 marches in the nation’s capital in support of school desegregation. 1963 1964 Civil Rights Act Title IV of this act authorizes the federal government to file school desegregation cases. 26 • JUNE 2014

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