Wednesday, August 05, 2015

school segregation - nothing changed...,


propublica |  News reports in the days and weeks after Brown’s death often noted his recent graduation and college ambitions, the clear implication that the teen’s school achievements only deepened the sorrow over his loss.

But if Brown’s educational experience was a success story, it was a damning one.

The Normandy school district from which Brown graduated is among the poorest and most segregated in Missouri. It ranks last in overall academic performance. Its rating on an annual state assessment was so dismal that by the time Brown graduated the district had lost its accreditation. 

About half of black male students at Normandy High never graduate. Just one in four graduates enters a four-year college. The college where Brown was headed is a troubled for-profit trade-school that a U.S. Senate report said targeted students for their “vulnerabilities,” and that at one time advertised itself to what it internally called the area’s “Unemployed, Underpaid, Unsatisfied, Unskilled, Unprepared, Unsupported, Unmotivated, Unhappy, Underserved!” 

A mere five miles down the road from Normandy is the wealthy county seat where a grand jury recently decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown. Success there looks drastically different. The Clayton Public Schools are predominantly white, with almost no poverty to speak of. The district is regularly ranked among the top 10 percent in the state. More than 96 percent of students graduate. Fully 84 percent of graduates head to four-year universities.

Brown’s tragedy, then, is not limited to his individual potential cut brutally short. His schooling also reveals a more subtle, ongoing racial injustice: the vast disparity in resources and expectations for black children in America’s stubbornly segregated educational system. 

As ProPublica has documented in a series of stories on the resegregation of America’s schools, hundreds of school districts across the nation have been released from court-enforced integration over the past 15 years. Over that same time period, the number of so-called apartheid schools — schools whose white population is 1 percent or less — has shot up. The achievement gap, greatly narrowed during the height of school desegregation, has widened.

“American schools are disturbingly racially segregated, period,” Catherine Lhamon, head of the U.S. Education Department’s civil rights office, said in an October speech. “We are reserving our expectations for our highest rigor level of courses, the courses we know our kids need to be able to be full and productive members of society, but we are reserving them for a class of kids who are white and who are wealthier.”