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Reports of Resegregation in America’s School’s Misleading
Mumford Center finds gains made since the Brown decision have not been reversed

Contact: Michael Parker (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 4, 2004) -- Widely circulated reports that our schools are in the midst of a massive resegregation that threatens the achievements of the 1960s and 1970s are misleading, according to a new report by the Lewis Mumford Center.

The report, Resegregation in American Public Schools? Not in the 1990s, shows that the gains made since the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision have not been broadly reversed.

“All racial and ethnic groups participated in a trend toward schools with lower shares of whites and higher shares of black, Hispanic, and Asian enrollment,” said the Center’s Director John Logan. “Changes in the schools have reflected changes in the nation. In fact, the major shift among white students since 1990 has been from schools that were more than 90% white toward schools with a wider racial mix.”

Results indicate that few schools became majority white during this period and black, Hispanic, and Asian numbers grew about the same in schools that remained majority white as in those that remained or became majority minority.

“It is certainly true that desegregation efforts have faltered since the early 1990’s. Segregation within school districts was cut by 40% between 1968 and 1990, but no further progress was made after that time. Nevertheless, most of the gains made in the struggle against desegregated schools have been protected,” said Logan.

The report is the latest in a series exploring trends in school segregation. According to Logan, despite improvements made since the Brown decision, public schools remain highly segregated in much of the country. Worse, separate continues to mean unequal. Logan notes that the average white child attends an elementary school where about 30% of classmates are enrolled in the reduced-price lunch program while two-thirds of classmates of black and Hispanic children are eligible for this program.

The report, Resegregation in American Public Schools? Not in the 1990s, can be viewed on a Mumford Center webpage. This webpage also allows users to view information on individual school districts across the country, including links to legal summaries of relevant court cases involving the district (if any), trends in racial composition of students since 1968, and levels of segregation in 1968, 1990, and 2000.

Recognized as one of the great urbanists of the 20th century, Lewis Mumford endorsed the creation of the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research in 1988. Under the leadership of Director John Logan, the Center currently focuses on four key initiatives: 1) Global Neighborhoods, 2) the Urban Historical Initiative, 3) the China Urban Research Network; and 4) the Hudson-Mohawk Regional Workshop. Each of these projects examines the impact of global changes on the U.S. metropolis and civil society, probes the 19th and early 20th Century roots of present-day cities and suburbs, and addresses urban change in other parts of the world, mostly notably China. Visit the Mumford Center at www.albany.edu/mumford.


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