School ‘resegregation’ cited in study

Latino students, the largest minority group in Northern Virginia, are attending increasingly segregated schools, according to a report released Tuesday that examines enrollment patterns across the state over the past two decades.

Nearly four out of five Latino students were enrolled in predominantly minority schools in 2010, according to the analysis by the Civil Rights Project, based at the University of California Los Angeles. About 7 percent of those students went to schools where fewer than 10 percent of students were white and a large majority of students came from poverty.

“When we look at school enrollment today, it’s no longer a black and white story; it’s a very multiracial one,” said Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and lead author of the report. “But alongside that growing diversity, there are also persistent patterns of segregation.”

The analysis is the first in a series of 12 reports examining school segregation in Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states more than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education made school segregation illegal.

The report maintains that “separate remains extremely unequal,” citing research that racially isolated schools are disproportionately poor, have less experienced teachers, inferior facilities, less challenging curriculum, and tend to lack a successful culture where students encourage each other to work hard or go to college.

The concentration of minority students in highly segregated schools was less severe in Northern Virginia than elsewhere in the state. As Northern Virginia has grown more diverse so have most of its schools. The portion of so-called multiracial schools or schools where three or more racial groups constituted at least 10 percent of the enrollment more than doubled from 28 percent to 60 percent.

Statewide, the portion of intensely segregated schools, those where fewer than 10 percent of students are white, grew from three to six percent between 1989 and 2010. The portion of black students who attend those schools grew from 12 to 16 percent, and the share of Latinos attending them doubled from three to six percent.

Northern Virginia was the only part of the state where the concentration of Latinos in very segregated schools was higher than that of African Americans.


Michael Alison Chandler writes about schools and families in the Washington region.
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