NPQ continues to be closely following the re-segregation of America's schools. A lot more than Half a century after the historic Top court ruling which asserted that separate schools can't ever equate, early gains from integration within the 1950s and 1960s have increasingly been reversed. Disturbingly, it seems this is not just the result of integration being very difficult to get right; rather, it appears to be the failure of the from the federal government to stand strongly behind what the law states from the land making integration important.
Recently, Chalkbeat examined the fate of the very most recent federal make an effort to right this wrong. Near the end of his tenure, President Obama's secretary of education, John King, helped launch a little program for desegregation. $12 million, a paltry sum, was invested in help local districts research and develop their approaches to increasing the integration of the schools. (It may be important to note that there are a lot more than 50 million public school students in the United States). This followed earlier Obama administration guidance to college leaders stressing the necessity to target the ills of racial and economic segregation that plague a number of our schools. The time might have been meager, but at least there was a modicum of support for local leaders.
Thirty districts, big and small, answered the RFP, seeking financial aid for his or her efforts to construct districts by which all schools reflected an area's overall population. But the change of administration stopped the effort in its tracks. Under President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, this program was cancelled.
US DoE spokesperson Angela Morabito explained her department's rationale to Chalkbeat: \”The program was an unwise use of tax dollars, and the funds could be used better for other purposes.\” For Secretary Betsy DeVos, integration was no longer an objective to aid even modestly.
The new administration also rolled back guidance letters which in fact had supported local schools affirmatively trying to increase equality. The signals were clear to former Education Secretary John King Jr. He told EdWeek :
[These actions send] the incorrect message in a moment once the nation’s schools-are becoming increasingly diverse. More than 60 years later, our nation still has not fulfilled the commitment of Brown v. Board of Education. Research shows the advantages of diversity for those students; and innovative practices in schools, on campuses, as well as in communities to succeed diversity might help protect the near future prosperity of our nation and the long-term health of our economy.
The loss of $12 million from the a lot more than $700 billion spent annually on K-12 education was insignificant; losing moral leadership that it conveyed was not. \”It is tough, otherwise impossible, to support this very hypothetical statement that the ending of the program prevented school districts from moving forward using their school integration plans,\” Morabito said in a statement. But by ending the program and changing the message of integration as a priority, the federal government gave a powerful signal that integration was no longer important. It left local leaders by themselves to take on the political winds that have long made
integration difficult.Austin, Texas was among the districts that had looked to federal funding to assist create an integration pathway. Their district is ethnically and economically diverse, but individual schools are highly segregated. Within their application for funding they asked for $1.5 million to develop an agenda because \”this community includes a compelling need to turn back legacy of exclusion, and Austin will leverage this grant to attempt to alter the historic trend.\”
Without the fiscal and moral support of the authorities, moving forward in Austin proved way too hard. Former school board member Edmund T. Gordon, who teaches African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas, told Chalkbeat, \”if they'd gotten the money, maybe they would happen to be more serious about it-as soon as they needed to pay it off, and as soon because there are other priorities,\” the resolve for integration faltered. Local leadership was left alone to face strong opposition from white upper- and middle-class residents who fear change.
Across the nation, with little support from federal leaders and often little support in the state level, local school leaders remain to defend myself against building integrated and equal systems when confronted with opposition. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as noted by NPQ, recently checked out New York City's highly segregated school system and asked: \”Why isn't every public school in Nyc a Brooklyn Tech-caliber school? Everybody ought to be.\”
The answer is that people do not have the will to construct the training system we want, to meet both the legal dependence on Brown v. Board of Education and also the moral imperative of treating every child equally. And, sadly, we've not strong federal voice calling us to do the right thing, without which we continue to slip to 1954.