Post Reports

A report card on school segregation in America

Laura Meckler examines what school segregation looks like today. Heather Long on the minority women changing the makeup of the U.S. workforce. And Nick Miroff explains the Supreme Court’s move on a Trump administration asylum policy.
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

In this episode

The changing face of school integration
The number of children attending U.S. public schools with students of other races has nearly doubled over the past quarter-century, a Washington Post analysis has found. 

And while schools in newly diverse districts have high levels of integration, historically diverse districts are far more segregated today, with children in most big cities and many suburbs locked in deeply segregated school districts.

This comes as the nation reaches a demographic tipping point: According to Census Bureau projections, there will be more children of color than white children in the United States in 2020. 

Reporter Laura Meckler traveled to a small town in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen. Twenty-five years ago, the valley’s school district was 11 percent Latino. Now, Latinos represent more than half of all students. “The school district is far more integrated than what you find in big cities,” Meckler says. 

But in Denver, Meckler found that segregation is still entrenched. Once a court order for mandatory busing was lifted in the district, “the schools almost immediately re-segregated,” Meckler says – a result of school choice, the nation’s history of redlining and a sense of community that some neighborhoods don’t want to give up.

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Women of color are surging into the U.S. workforce
The U.S. workforce has crossed a historic threshold: For the first time, most new hires of prime working age (25 to 54) are people of color, according to a Washington Post analysis of data the Labor Department has collected since the 1970s.

Women have predominantly driven this trend since 2015 and have begun to reshape the demographics of the workforce as many white baby boomers retire. The question remains, says economics reporter Heather Long, whether women of color will be able to hold on to these gains as the economy stalls.

“A recession is going to hurt a lot of people,” Long says, “but it particularly tends to hurt people who just got into the workforce. It’s that old mantra of ‘last in, first out.’ ”

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Trump administration can continue to curb Central American migration
In July, the Trump administration sharply restricted access to the asylum system for anyone who did not seek protection from other countries before crossing the southern border. 

A federal district judge in California quickly issued a nationwide injunction against the law. But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court lifted the lower court’s block, making it easier – until ongoing legal challenges have been completed in lower courts – for the administration to turn away migrants fleeing violence and oppressive regimes in Central and South America. 

“This is such a radical departure from existing practice, because the Immigration and Nationality Act for decades has made fairly explicit that if you show up on U.S. soil, you have the right to access the U.S. legal system,” policy reporter Nick Miroff says. 

That’s no longer the case. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.