Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Minority Growth in Suburban Schools–Continued Hispanic Segregation?

According to a recent Pew Study released this week, Hispanic students have become an even more segregated segment of the U.S. suburban public school population, while blacks and Asians have become slightly less isolated.

The report used federal government data which found that minority students made up 99 percent of the increase in suburban school enrollment between the 1993-94 and 2006-07 school years.

Despite the increase in minority enrollment, the Pew report findings defy the assumption that growing minority populations will create a “melting pot” in suburban schools. This is because the typical Latino student attends a school with a 63 percent Latino enrollment.

Richard Fry, a senior research at Pew, a Washington think thank, said, “The school districts look like they are more diverse, but within your school districts, if the whites are in one school, the blacks in a different school and the Hispanics in yet a different school, it doesn’t necessarily mean the suburban whites have more black and Hispanic classmates — because they don’t go to the same school.”

Fry continued, “Suburbia has changed – suburban schools are getting much more diverse.  But we shouldn’t assume that white suburban students as a result are interacting significantly more with nonwhites.”

One reason for this could be charter schools, which are promoted by President Obama. Charter schools could be seen as favoring segregation in grades kindergarten though 12, because many schools promote ethnic themes or bilingual courses attracting certain kinds of students.

David R. Garcia, an assistant professor of education at Arizona State University who has researched charter schools, said the dilemma of bridging segregation gaps in communities is a complicated one.

Garcia said “We worked hard to have more diversity by bringing together students of different races who go to school together, learn together and become more tolerant as a whole, so there is concern.”

In 2007, the Supreme Court rejected the explicit use of race in assigning students to schools leaving districts to try to find new ways to alleviate isolation about racial and ethnic groups.

The report noted that black and Asian students saw small gains in integration; however, Hispanic students were increasingly clustered at the same suburban schools. To see the full report click here.

Hispanic Business

Associated Press