Nearly 60 years have passed since the Supreme Court made its landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision, legally ending school segregation across the U.S. Today, the legacy of school segregation persists, as racial isolation remains the reality of many students nationwide.
Though it is expected that the U.S. population will shift from a white-majority to a minority-majority by 2046, currently most students do not see that diversity reflected in their school experience. Nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 52 percent of black students and 58 percent of Latino students attend school where minority students make up 75 percent or more of the entire student body.
In Chicago, America’s most segregated city, it’s typical for students to go through their entire K-12 education without ever having met a classmate of another race, as “GOOD reported this week. In a recent radio interview on a local station, a Chicago student described having thought that schools were still legally segregated, based solely on her surroundings.
Advocates for reform argue that the incentives to foster greater diversity in schools are clear: Exposing students to racially and culturally diverse environments prepares them for the world outside school doors. Recent studies have also shown that students fare better academically in schools with greater levels of socioeconomic diversity.
Throughout the past decade, public school reformers have focused largely on building schools in the 90/90/90 model — schools with populations made up of more than 90 percent low-income students, more than 90 percent ethnic minorities and more than 90 percent students who meet set academic standards — as a way to provide high-performing schools to students in their own neighborhoods.