Research from around the country shows that all students perform better in racially and economically integrated schools.
In other words, all students, regardless of their socio-economic background, benefit academically from a racially and economically mixed learning environment. It is not only the poorer students who benefit. However, the re-segregation of schools poses a much more acute threat for low-income and minority students given the overwhelming challenges faced by schools of concentrated poverty. High poverty schools face much higher rates of teacher turnover, more numerous disciplinary problems, and lower student performance.
In addition to the academic benefits of school integration, diverse schools do a better job of preparing students to live in an integrated world. Students who learn to work with people with a range of backgrounds are more adept with handling the complexity of difference and the challenge of the unfamiliar.
Threats to integrated schools include:
- Efforts to roll back school desegregation plans in parts of our state, following a national trend toward re-segregation. A recent report states, “Consequently, wealthier families in de facto segregated districts like Charlotte, North Carolina, now have greater latitude to flee to whiter, better-resourced school districts, depriving black and brown neighborhoods of the affirmative-action measures needed to avoid further academic marginalization.”
- The growth of charter schools that primarily serve one racial, ethnic or economic group and promote resegregation.
- Private school vouchers that will shift public funds to private entities.