This is where schools are the most segregated

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The children heading back to school this fall make up the most diverse cohort of students ever.


For the first time, minorities will make up a majority of the students in American public schools. But the individual classrooms these students enter aren't necessarily more diverse.

In fact, many of them are segregated.

A new set of interactive county-level maps from the Urban Institute shows where segregation is the worst.


Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles both have small percentages of white students in their public schools. But those white students are disproportionately likely to attend schools where the bulk of their classmates are also white.

In D.C., for example, nearly 40 percent of white students attend public schools where most of their classmates are also white. Yet fewer than 10 percent of D.C.'s public school students are white.

Mouse over the maps below to see how segregated or unsegregated your county is.


A couple of quick points:

Minority children often attend segregated schools that have fewer resources. The students tend to come from poorer neighborhoods and their schools don't have access to the funds that active booster clubs and PTAs generate. Studies also show that schools with the neediest students are staffed by the least qualified teachers.


Integrating schools is a complicated issue because school segregation is often the result of neighborhood segregation. Families want their children to attend neighborhood schools with local children, but many families don't live in particularly diverse neighborhoods. Ending school segregation will require looking at more than just education policy - it will have to explore housing, too.

School diversity is a good thing. Children benefit from learning in an environment where they are exposed to people from different backgrounds who have different customs, beliefs and religions.


Ending school segregation is a worthwhile goal and our nation's student body looks more diverse than ever at the national level. But we haven't done a very good job of achieving integration on a classroom-by-classroom basis where it matters.

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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