Housing segregation hurts schools: Report

Sept. 20, 2010 at 2:17 PM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Residential segregation still condemns most minority students to substandard public schools, an advocacy group said Monday.

Overall, primary school enrollment is already "majority-minority" in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, but with wide regional variations, said the report by Nancy McArdle, Theresa Osypuk and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia for diversitydata.org, based at Harvard University.

Housing segregation and school assignment based on geography yield high levels of school segregation, particularly for blacks, the report said. Black segregation is highest in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York while Los Angeles, New York and Springfield, Mass., lead in segregating Latinos.

Within the same regions, moreover, black and Hispanic students attend schools with much higher poverty rates than whites or Asians. The worst disparities were found in two Connecticut cities, Bridgeport and Hartford.

The report said 43 percent of black and Hispanic students attend schools with poverty rates exceeding 80 percent compared with 4 percent of whites.

Diversitydata called for policies to combat residential segregation, reduce concentrated poverty in minority areas and let students cross district boundaries.

Such measures would include enforcing fair housing laws, placing affordable housing in more prosperous areas, easing zoning restrictions and boosting geographic mobility.

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