Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Baltimore Sun: De Facto Segregation Persists in Integrated Schools

As schools become more diverse, a lingering problem persists that inadvertently creates de facto segregation in the classroom. In a Baltimore Sun article, "Within integrated schools, de facto segregation persists", educators in a Howard County, Maryland school district have discovered that black students are less likely to be enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses than their white peers. This sort of racialized tracking ensures that white students have greater access to educational resources and guidance counseling, increasing their chances of attending an elite college or university. school tracking is a controversial issue because it involves separating students by academic ability into groups for certain classes and curriculum within a school. Black students are disproportionately selected into regular (a.k.a. non-college-preparatory) and special education courses, which sends the message that they are not college material. Furthermore, black students miss out on gifted and talented programs, which provide many opportunities for cultural and social capital (particularly around their more affluent peers). De facto segregation in the classroom is not equal educational opportunity. Educators and policymakers must understand that enrolling more white and black students in the same school does not always lead to integrated classrooms.

School tracking can have disastrous effects on student learning and can lead to a poverty of learning particularly among black students. Click here (Education Week) and here (ASCD) for more information about tracking.

Howard County is the most integrated school district in the region, according to the Maryland Equity Project of the University of Maryland. Children of different races — especially those who are black and white — are more likely to sit next to each other in Howard than almost anywhere else in the state.

But within that diversity, school leaders have uncovered a de facto system of segregation.

Enrollment data obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a public records request shows that the district's advanced classes — honors, gifted and talented, and AP — are disproportionately white, while the regular and remedial classes are disproportionately black.

I also highly recommend these scholarly articles if school tracking in K-12 education is of strong interest to readers:

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