Volume 115, Number 11, 2013
The articles in this special issue examine the increasingly complex relationship between segregation, desegregation, and integration in a sociopolitical environment vastly different from that of the initial days of desegregation. These issues are examined from historical and political perspectives, contextualizing the complexities of segregation, desegregation, and integration in the twenty-first century. The articles challenge school leaders to critically engage in pioneering processes within their communities that work to create, maintain, and sustain diverse schooling environments.
Using a narrative research methodology, this study investigated the formal and informal ways that racism influences the practice of educational leadership in an urban high school. The study revealed that many decisions that should be based on professional educational information and judgment are instead influenced by racist and discriminatory assumptions. The article focuses on the inequitable leadership processes related to various human and instructional resources in the school.
This article explores the diversity policies and politics of two countywide school districts in the South experiencing enclave growth at a time of legal and political ambiguity: Jefferson County Public Schools and the Wake County Public Schools System. Both districts’ voluntary desegregation efforts have been highly publicized as they are increasingly being affected by changing demographics and local politics. In this article we seek to describe how demographic change influences public support for and implementation of the districts’ diversity policies. We also examine how political debates around diversity have shifted in response to the changing legal context and enclave formation in both districts.
This article describes the events surrounding the Kelly v. Mason (1968) case, which led to Las Vegas’ mandatory school desegregation plan and the African American community’s request in 1992 to abandon the mandatory busing plan for a return to neighborhood schools. Its secondary aim is to disrupt a tradition of advocacy for school integration absent the voices, experiences, and in many cases forewarnings of Black community stakeholders who questioned whether school desegregation via forced busing would actually result in equal education and genuine racial integration.
If structured equitably racially diverse schools can offer all students better opportunities, however, the benefits of racial diversity are undermined if subsequent policies, systems, and practices are not in place to ensure that all students are equitably given opportunities to learn. This article further problematizes the concept of “diversity” by exploring how one racially mixed high school’s vision for diversity was mismatched with the reality of apparent inequities within the school. Students of color who transferred to the high school for better opportunities were ultimately resegregated to racially isolating structures. The study’s findings align with scholars who call for further critique of what it means to be truly diverse or integrated, and suggest currently policies designed to achieve diverse schooling fail to chisel at mechanisms that inevitably sustain the inequitable racial and social order within schools.
This article explores the dilemmas created by between-district segregation and school district fragmentation in terms of efforts to diversify schools. We first review existing research to examine what is known empirically about between-district segregation, and the role of school district fragmentation as a contributing factor. We then examine policy efforts to address problems caused by fragmentation in other (non-educational) domains, and we consider whether such efforts could serve as a potential solution to school district fragmentation. We conclude with educational policy lessons based upon our examination of these prior efforts both within and outside of education to inform the current policy debate around school segregation.
On January 29, 2008 the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) approved the development of an Africentric school under their Alternative School policy. Calls for Black-focused schools also arose in 2008 in London in response to the rise in gang violence and the disengagement of African Caribbean youth. This comparative paper analyzes the historical development of Black-focused education in Toronto and London from 1968 - 2008 as a response by Black parents and community activists to the historic underachievement of African Caribbean students (particularly males) in the public schools of both cities. I situate the development of Black-focused education in each city within the larger social, political, and national policy contexts, trace critical incidents that fueled the development of race-based school district policy, and explore how the “politics of place” has influenced the trajectory of Black-focused education in each city. The historiography of Black education has largely focused on the US educational system. Research on educational reform efforts such as Afrocentric schooling has also reflected this US-centric focus. This comparative study reconceptualizes Black-focused schooling within the context of the African Diaspora by examining how advocacy for an African-centered curriculum and ideology was adapted to local conditions in Canada and Britain.
We conclude this special issue reflecting back on the history of desegregation and questioning how we move forward in trying to achieve racially integrated school settings. The epilogue includes a conversation with Dr. Michael A. Middleton, Deputy Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Middleton is an expert in civil rights and employment discrimination and served as the lead counsel for plaintiffs in the St. Louis metropolitan school desegregation litigation. Dr. Middleton discusses the history, current status, and future of school desegregation.
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