Originally published on The New York Times
Dallas is one of just a handful of cities trying ambitious integration programs, even though nationwide, public schools are more segregated today than they were in 1970.
A third of black and Hispanic students attend schools that are more than 90 percent nonwhite, according to research from the Century Foundation, and those racially segregated schools are overwhelmingly low-performing. Research shows that poor children who attend school alongside more privileged peers score higher on standardized tests and earn more money as adults.
Like many cities, it replaced one form of segregation with another, as white and middle-class families moved to the suburbs or put their children in private schools.
But fearful of stoking a fresh round of middle-class flight or another busing revolt like Boston’s in the 1970s, most cities have shied away from addressing the issue.
A typical approach is New York’s, where gifted programs and magnet schools have not made a great dent. This month, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a diversity plan that promised to decrease the number of schools in which low-income children are isolated from middle-class peers.