User:DiamondDisc1/School segregation

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School segregation is still a problem today. Instead of discriminatory laws, district borders are instead redrawn to keep minorities out of certain schools.


School segregation by race was banned in 1964 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act. However, the law was very specifically designed by Northern lawmakers. The Civil Rights Act targeted explicit segregation of race. A state could no longer designate schools for white and black students. However, the law failed to target laws that would allow for more covert segregation. For instance, if a school was in a district that had more white, middle-/upper-class students due to zoning laws that prevented students from a lower income bracket or from a minority racial group. As such, much of the North and West is more segregated than the South. By exploiting legal loopholes, districts are free to segregate their schools all without violating the Civil Rights Act. [1]

To get a better idea of modern school segregation, let's look at some of the ongoing school secession efforts.[2]:

Proposed District Current District State Median annual income of people in proposed district Median annual income of people in current district w/out proposed district Majority race of proposed district Majority race of current district w/out proposed district
Malibu Unified Santa Monica-Malibu Unified California $135,530[3] $84,562[4] White(78.2%)[5] White[6]
Northgate Unified[7] Mt. Diablo Unified California $126,000 $76,144[8] White(56.3%)[9] Latino(46.4%)[10]
Caledonia*[11] Racine Unified Wisconsin $69,045[12] $55,584[13] White(70.7%)[14] ???
Signal Mountain Hamilton County Tennessee $97,092[15] $47,880[16] White (96.6%)[17] ???
St. George East Baton Rouge Parish Louisiana $77,000 $47,000[18] White(70%) Black(55%)[19]

There is no way of denying the truth: most of these secession attempts are discriminatory. Examples such as St. George's 70% white proposed district being carved out of a district that is mostly (55%) black and Malibu's median income of $135,530 compared to Santa Monica's income of $84,562 are very obviously discriminatory.

Code language[edit]

School secession is usually proposed in the language of "freedom" or "choice," but bids for separation almost always involve wealthier, whiter enclaves trying to separate from more diverse school districts.
—NAACP Legal Defense Fund[20]

Local control[edit]

[The school secession effort is about] keeping our tax dollars here with our kids, rather then sharing them with kids all over Jefferson County [parent district].
—Mayor of Garendale, AL, which seceded from Jefferson County in 2017[21]

A common argument for a new school district is about local control, i.e. keeping tax dollars from said new district area in said area. There is a problem with this though: taxpayers all throughout a district tend to pay for a new school with the intention that all the students in said district should be allowed to go to said new school. If you make a new school district, it's essentially getting several free schools with the added "bonus" of getting to block whoever from going to said schools.

"The proposed district isn't racist/classist! People in the new district area just tend to be white and/or rich!"[edit]

This should be obvious, really.

"I don't want my kids to get stabbed/addicted to drugs/laid/etc.!"[edit]

Sadly, this argument is fairly common. The inherent dog whistles and bigotry behind these arguments is, by this point, a dead horse.

Geographic isolation[edit]

People behind new districts often claim that their district is geographically or socially isolated from the rest of the district. However, it is common for a school in the proposed district to be closer to a school outside the proposed district. Here's an example:


The blue school is Bancroft Elementary School in the proposed Northgate school district secession. The school has a split feeder pattern, with around 27%[22] of students being sent to Oak Grove Middle (yellow) and Ygnacio Valley High (purple-red) and the rest being sent to Foothill Middle (green) and Northgate High (purple).[23] The red line denotes the new district boundary. The Northgate secession effort proposes fixing said feeder pattern by sending all Bancroft students to Foothill and Northgate, even though Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley are closer to Bancroft and therefore the more logical solution. It just so happens that Oak Grove[24] and Ygnacio Valley[25] are mostly poor and Mexican, which is totally not a motivating factor in trying to send the mostly white and rich students at Bancroft[26] to the mostly white and rich Foothill[27] and Northgate.[28]

As you can expect, the Northgate secession effort did not meet criterion 3 of CA's 9 criteria: Equitable Division of Property/Facilities.

"The district we're trying to separate from sends some of our money to other schools!"[edit]

This argument is often used when the separating schools are considered "better" than the others in the district. This argument implies one of two things: 1) Better preforming schools deserve more funding, or 2)"We don't want to share our money with students that are poorer/not white!". The problem with the latter implication is obvious. A counter argument to the former is simple: If a school is already high preforming, why give more money to that school, especially if there are lower preforming schools who need the money? To quote a common saying,"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lower preforming schools very much need the money, especially due to the large school funding inequality in America.[29] A study finds that when lower preforming schools are given more funding, they do better.[30]

Why school segregation is harmful[edit]

The composition of our school communities matter, not just for improving student outcomes, but for the stability and prosperity of our nation. Diverse school communities foster empathy and understanding across cultures and prepare students for life and work in a multi-ethnic nation. What’s more, research shows that integrated schools hold greater potential for helping students succeed academically than racially isolated schools, ultimately bolstering economic growth for society as a whole.
—Center for Public Education[31]

We live in a more diverse world than ever[edit]

Isolating students of a certain group will be problematic when they grow up and most likely will have to work with members of other groups. If they have no experience working with members of other groups, they will most likely not know how to act around members of other groups.

Students in more integrated schools do better[edit]

A study by the Early Childhood Research Quarterly finds that black first graders in integrated schools experience larger gains in reading skills than their counterparts in more segregated schools.[32] Other research has shown that the test scores of white kids attending a school with a large amount of Black and Latino students don't drop when they attend.[33]

Legitimate reasons for district separation[edit]

  • geographic isolation (i.e. mountains)

Ways to curtail racist district secession[edit]

  • Follow the example of California, Wyoming, and Nebraska, which require the consideration of socioeconomic factors and funding.
  • Require all voters within a district to vote on district secession, not just those in the secession area
  • California's 9 criteria that all proposed districts must meet is a good base. The 9 criteria are:[34]
  • Criterion 1: Adequate Enrollment
  • Criterion 2: Community Identity
  • Criterion 3: Equitable Property and Facility Division
  • Criterion 4: Non-promotion of Racial/Ethnic Discrimination or Segregation
  • Criterion 5: No Increase in State Costs
  • Criterion 6: No Disruption to Educational Programs or Performance
  • Criterion 7: No Significant Increase in School Housing Costs
  • Criterion 8: Not Designed to Increase Property Values
  • Criterion 9: No Substantial Negative Impact on District Fiscal Management or Status

External links[edit]


  1. LastWeekTonight. YouTube. October 30, 2016. Accessed July 26, 2017.
  5. Page 21
  6. Whites would be a majority minority; current district is 50.6% white.
  7. Will probably fail, due to not being recommended to CA by their County's board. Even if it does go to a vote, the whole current district will have to vote on it, and the many minority parents in the district will probably be pissed that a small group of white parents want their own district.
  10. Page 61
  11. May be inactive, last activity that we could find was in 2015.
  14. Calculations done by DiamondDisc1
  17. The estimated percentage of minority students would be 3.4%. This calculation was based off data provided by US News&World Report, and, calculations conducted by User:RoninMacbeth
  22. It should be noted that this percentage assumes all students in the split area go to Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley; due to the wealth of the area, many parents in the Bancroft split area presumably place their children in private school or transfer their kids to other schools.