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The Benefits of Racial And Economic Integration in Our Education System

The Benefits of Racial And Economic Integration in Our Education System
2009Education

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In 2007, in Parents Involved, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that school districts could not classify students solely on the basis of race when voluntarily pursuing integration. Since then, many school districts have been scrambling to replace their race-based assignment plans with race-neutral ones. To some this signals the end of Brown and the abandonment of racially integrated schools. Yet, a majority of the Justices agreed that the state has a compelling interest in both promoting diversity and avoiding racial isolation in our public schools. Given the increasingly deep and pervasive race and classbased segregation in our nation, what can be done to end this isolation and increase opportunities in our schools and in our communities?

The remedies and educational initiatives we have enacted thus far have only demonstrated modest amounts of success in part because they are failing to disrupt the cycle of racialized poverty that is creating and reinforcing pervasive educational inequities. In this report, we demonstrate the benefits of an approach that proactively pursues racial and economic integration in our schools. Setting integration both as a goal and as a solution, requires targeting policies and practices embedded in educational opportunity structures such as school locations, student assignment plans, and the quality and diversity of instructors.