Making School Integration Work for the 21st Century

Countless studies show that segregation by income is growing worse in public schools, but the national response to this trend has been disappointing. The Trump administration recently ended the Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities program, a federal initiative that would have supported local school efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity. State courts, once a powerful tool for school integration, have lifted desegregation orders and released districts from their jurisdiction. And although some districts are opting for their own integration plans, they make up a small portion—less than 1 percent—of all public school systems in the country.

Sadly, too few districts have active policies in place to boost income diversity. What’s worse, 4 out of every 10 school districts are highly segregated by income, as we discuss in our latest report, “Isolated and Segregated: A New Look at the Income Divide in our Nation’s Schooling System.” In the study, we find that class-based segregation remains deeply entrenched in the education system. Put differently, public schools are in as much need of integration now as they were 100 years ago.

This article was originally published in The 74.