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Separate and Economically Unequal

“You look just like Joe Flacco,” a young man told me a few weeks ago as I sat in the front office of Windsor Hills Elementary and Middle School, an overwhelmingly African-American school in West Baltimore.

I immediately started googling pictures of Flacco on my cell phone, thinking: “I look like a football superstar!” But then I met with the school’s principal, Corey Basmajian, who like me is also white. Basmajian says that people also mistake him for Joe Flacco, and that’s when it dawned on me: Racial segregation, rather than my actual appearance, might be the ultimate cause of my being an NFL doppelganger.

Whether you are a school principal or an education analyst, it’s easy to forget how highly segregated our nation’s schools are. While Brown v. Board of Education famously held that “separate is not equal,” racial and socioeconomic segregation continues to plague our nation’s school system. Today, low-income students are “six times more likely to attend ‘high-poverty schools,'” while racial segregation in the South has “lost all of the additional progress made after l967.”

This article was originally published in U.S. News & World Report.