Today is the 57th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared racial segregation in U.S. public schools unconstitutional. Also today, American schools are more segregated than they were four decades ago.
If eradicating racial segregation in education was the original civil rights battle, it continues to be the most enduring one. A court decision that called “separate but equal” schools unlawful led to a couple hopeful decades of racial integration. But today most U.S. kids go to schools that are both racially and socioeconomically homogenous.
Around 40 percent of black and Latino students in the U.S. are in schools than are over 90 percent black and Latino, according to a 2009 study by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project. The schools that black and Latino kids are concentrated in are very often high-poverty schools, too. The average black student goes to a school where 59 percent of their classmates live in poverty, while the average Latino student goes to a school that’s 57 percent poor.
And it’s not just blacks and Latinos who are racially isolated. White students go to schools that are 77 percent white, and 32 percent poor.