School segregation rises to 1969 levels
Jan. 18, 2004 12:00 AM
Half a century after the Supreme
Court ordered the desegregation of American education, schools are almost as
segregated as they were when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated,
according to a new report released by Harvard University researchers.
The study by the Harvard Civil Rights Project indicates that progress toward
school desegregation peaked in the late 1980s as courts concluded that the
goals of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education
had largely been achieved. Over the past 15 years, the trend has been in the
opposite direction, and most Anglo students now have "little contact" with
minority students in many areas of the country, the report said.
"We are celebrating a victory over segregation at a time when schools across
the nation are becoming increasingly segregated," said the report, which was
issued on the eve of the holiday celebrating King's birthday.
The Harvard study suggests that Hispanic students are even more segregated
than African-American students, while Asian-Americans are the most integrated
ethnic group in the country. The increase in Latino segregation has been
particularly marked in states in the West, where more than 80 percent of
Latinos attend predominantly minority schools, compared with 42 percent in
In the South, the research found a steady decrease in the percentage of Black
students attending public schools where at least half of the enrollment is
Anglo, down from a peak of 43 percent in 1988 to 30 percent in 2001. That's
about the same as 1970, two years after King was assassinated.