More than a third of the nation's black students attend schools where, at most, one kid in 10 is white.

U.S. schools have been slipping back toward segregation for blacks and Hispanics for the last 15 years. The result is that in today's classrooms the races are almost as separated as they were in the early 1970s.

Maryland is one of the most segregated states. A Harvard University study found that more than half of Maryland's black students attend schools that are 90 to 100 percent non-white.

Meanwhile, whites continue to score higher than minorities on national tests.

"We have created two education systems -- separate and unequal," U.S. Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige said this week. "Some students are taught well while the rest -- mostly poor and mostly minority -- flounder or flunk out."

What happened?

After the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the federal government tried to help integrate public schools. One approach was court-ordered busing, which often meant sending white kids out of their neighborhoods to attend black schools, or sending black kids off to attend white schools. Many parents objected and fought to get rid of busing.

At the same time, America's suburbs boomed as more whites and middle-income minorities moved there. City school systems then became heavily minority. In 1953, for example, about 55 percent of D.C. public school students were black; today that number is 84 percent.

In recent years, courts stopped enforcing integration plans. Many school districts declared themselves integrated and judges allowed them to end busing and other plans.

Some districts now are trying magnet schools in minority areas, with special programs intended to attract whites. While some people say that more money is the best way to help minority schools, others are pushing for tougher testing to help students.

As the 50th anniversary of the Brown ruling nears, look around your classroom, at who sits with you. Was Brown's vision fulfilled at your school?

News researcher Carmen Chapin contributed to these stories.

Five Forks, a former school for blacks in Virginia's Prince Edward County, was built in 1918.