A new report by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA shows that despite the sharply increasing diversity of Washington, D.C., generations of African-American students have attended intensely segregated schools in a city with a wider racial achievement gap than that of any state.
“This report makes clear that substantial school desegregation was never achieved for black students through the U.S. Supreme Court–ordered desegregation of the D.C. schools 63 years ago,” said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and a UCLA professor of education, law, political science and urban planning.
The report finds that although the city has become far more diverse, and there has been modest progress in reducing segregation in the its public schools, segregation remains intense. It also makes clear that schools in the nation’s capital are doubly segregated by both race and poverty. Nearly 90 percent of black students in public schools went to “apartheid schools” (those that were either completely non-white or within 1 percent of absolute segregation) in 1992, and the percentage was still high (71 percent) in 2013.
“The District of Columbia’s population became substantially diverse over the past several decades, but schools in D.C. do not reflect this racial diversity,” said Jongyeon Ee, research associate at the Civil Rights Project and a co-author of the report. “Students in the city face intense segregation by race and poverty – which creates serious barriers to equal educational opportunity.”