The Evolution of School Segregation

Phyllis Jordan, Future Ed | Source: Real Clear Education

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the nation has struggled to end racial segregation in public education. A recent study by Duke University researchers Charles Clotfelter, Helen Ladd, and Mavzuna Turaeva and UNC-Chapel Hill professor Steven Hemelt provides insights into the evolving story in North Carolina, a state at the epicenter of the desegregation struggle for decades. The research suggests that the racial landscape in education—and the challenges to achieving more integrated schools—have become increasingly complicated. FutureEd Editorial Director Phyllis Jordan spoke about the study recently with Clotfelter. How do you measure segregation in your study? When social scientists use the term segregation these days, they are usually talking about racial balance. So if all the schools in a district or a county have the same racial composition, we would say they’re racially balanced. Segregated school districts are racially imbalanced.

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