Without court-ordered desegregation, many school districts have struggled to find strategies to maintain racial balance and diversity. Many parents now choose the neighborhood school for their children rather than sending them long distances away, even for a program that might be considered high quality—like magnet schools. Districts are finding that many parents of all ethnic groups no longer view racial balance as a top priority in educating their children. In Nashville, public school officials are finding it a challenge to balance school improvement plans with a desire for racial diversity.
Segregation Shifts Series
In August, 1956, twelve students in Clinton, Tennessee made history by becoming the first to African-Americans to attend a state-supported high school in the south. The students became known as the “Clinton 12.” As the Southern Education Desk is running a series this week on the re-segregation of southern schools (“Segregation Shift: The New Faces of an Old Problem”), we thought you might like to see this piece of unique history through the ‘eyes of the time’ in this 1956 documentary from the legendary team of Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly at CBS-TV
Since the 1970s, federal court orders have governed how many Southern communities integrated their public schools. But new research shows, as those orders have been lifted, school districts are gradually re-segregating. But why?
Segregation in schools can be closely linked to neighborhoods, and neighborhoods can be segregated based on both racial and economic boundaries. Margery Turner, Vice President for Program Planning and Management at the Urban Institute, a non-profit policy analysis group based in Washington, D.C., explains some of the trends and reasons behind the divide.
In the second installment of our series “Segregation Shifts,” the SED’s Alabama reporter Dan Carsen goes back in time to examine a strategy whites once used to sidestep public school integration, one that still shapes communities today — so-called “segregation academies”:
“When people start talking about things that have happened in civil rights, they talk about Little Rock and other areas and for some unknown reason they have not spoken about Clinton.” – Bobby Cain