By Carl Samson
by Janie Boschma
In a modern-day tale of two cities, in virtually every major U.S. metropolitan area students of color are much more likely than whites to attend public schools shaped by high concentrations of poverty, an analysis of federal data has found.
In all but five of the 95 largest cities by population for which data is available, more minority than white students attend public schools where most of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, according to the analysis of data from the National Equity Atlas. In a full three-fourths of cities, the share of minority students attending mostly poor or low-income schools is at least 20 percentage points greater than the share of white students. In 29 of the cities, the gap is at least 40 percentage points.
Across a wide range of cities, the numbers point to a massive racial imbalance in exposure to concentrated poverty. In St. Louis, 92 percent of black, but only 27 percent of white, students attend schools where most of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income. In Dallas, 38 percent of white, compared to 95 percent of black and 97 percent of Latino students, attend mostly low-income schools. In Los Angeles, the numbers are 49 percent for whites, 85 percent for African Americans, and 96 percent for Latinos. (read more)
by Janie Boschma and Ronald Brownstein
In almost all major American cities, most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, a new analysis of federal data shows.
This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to make a quality education available to all American students. Researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students.
Underscoring the breadth of the challenge, the economic segregation of minority students persists across virtually all types of cities, from fast-growing Sunbelt places like Austin, Denver, Dallas, and Charlotte to struggling Rust Belt communities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, to the nation’s largest metropolitan centers, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. But cities, educators, and researchers are also exploring new ways to abate the negative impact of concentrated poverty on black and brown students. (read more)
Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to change its status as one of the worst places in the United States for poor children to have a shot at getting ahead as adults. If the city succeeds, its efforts may offer a roadmap for other major metro areas gripped by barriers such as concentrated poverty and school segregation.
Improving schools, particularly how they serve poor black and Latino children, will be a crucial piece in the fight to reduce inequity. Right now, the percentage of children in Charlotte attending schools where at least half the students are poor varies significantly by race. While just 23 percent of white students in Charlotte attend majority-poverty schools, 77 percent of black students and 80 percent of Latino students go to these schools, according to an original analysis of federal data provided by the National Equity Atlas, a joint project of PolicyLink and the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. The discrepancy is significant, because high-poverty schools tend to have fewer resources, less-qualified teachers, and weaker parent-volunteer networks than affluent schools. Add to this the fact that black and Latino children in Charlotte are more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty and to experience a range of barriers to economic mobility, and the scope of the problem—and, by extension, the complexity of any solution—balloon. (read more)
“Over the past weekend, the unimaginable happened in our nearby Kalamazoo community when a shooter took the lives of six people and severely injured two others. We are deeply saddened by such unbearable acts of violence and the senseless death and unspeakable fear that has fell upon our beloved community. We share our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and those grieving.
Unfortunately, we now join a growing list of communities across the country that have suffered and are trying to heal from the loss of innocent lives. It is our sincere hope we can move forward in the spirit of healing, as individuals and families, and as a unified community.” (Continue reading)
“Daddy, are you happy?” This is a question my son asks me on a regular basis. It is a beautiful yet sad question. It is beautiful because it is proof that my state of being registers with him, and that fact is the basis of essential virtues like sympathy, friendship and love. It is sad because often I am not happy and my son sees it just like I saw it on my own father’s face with troubling regularity.
For America’s black and brown citizens, holding on to the hope of a bright future requires an act of imagination.
My father used to tell me stories of being chased by older white kids through the streets of Brooklyn and how only his older brother, who was the leader of a substantial street gang, could hold back the tide of racist violence that frequently erupted there. He told me that he and his family lived in decent apartments because his Puerto Rican father, who had much more French in his blood than African, would be hired for superintendent jobs because employers believed he was white. Later, the employers would be flummoxed when my dark-skinned grandmother would arrive with five burnt caramel children in tow. Read more here.