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School Resegregation in the Mississippi of the West: Community Counternarratives on the Return to Neighborhood Schools in Las Vegas, 1968-1994


by Sonya Douglass Horsford, Carrie Sampson & Felicia Forletta - 2013

Background: School desegregation and resegregation in the Mountain West remain understudied despite the substantial impact the region’s growth and demographic change have had on racial balance and diversity in schools. Home to the largest school district in the Mountain West and fifth largest school district in the country, Las Vegas’s unprecedented rise in students identified as Latino, Asian, and immigrant English-language learners living in poverty, coupled with its legacy of racial segregation, reflect trends and conditions critical to national conversations around racial diversity and school resegregation in the post-Civil Rights Era.

Purpose: This article describes the events surrounding the Kelly v. Mason (1968) case, which led to Las Vegas’s 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.

Research Design and Methods: The present analysis employs a qualitative research design, historical case study methods, and critical race theory’s call to context and counternarratives to tell the story of school desegregation and resegregation in Las Vegas between 1968 and 1994.

Conclusions: The article concludes with implications and future directions for school desegregation research and policy, particularly given the under-examined nature of school resegregation in the Mountain West.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 11, 2013, p. 1-28
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17203, Date Accessed: 10/15/2019 7:44:46 AM

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About the Author
  • Sonya Douglass Horsford
    George Mason University
    E-mail Author
    SONYA DOUGLASS HORSFORD is an associate professor of education in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University where she focuses on educational leadership, opportunity, and reform. Her research areas include: school desegregation and resegregation, culturally relevant leadership, and critical race theory in education. She is author of the book, Learning in a Burning House: Educational Inequality, Ideology, and (Dis)Integration (Teachers College Press, 2011).
  • Carrie Sampson
    University of Nevada, Los Vegas
    E-mail Author
    CARRIE SAMPSON is a doctoral student in Public Affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research interests include educational policy, school governance, and issues of equity and opportunity. She teaches courses in public administration and women’s studies. Carrie has her master’s in Cultural Foundations of Education from Syracuse University and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • Felicia Forletta
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas
    E-mail Author
    FELICIA FORLETTA is a middle school math teacher. For the past 10 years, she has taught math, science, and computer literacy to students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade in Detroit, Michigan, and Las Vegas, Nevada. A veteran teacher-leader, Felicia has a master’s in education administration from University of Detroit Mercy and her doctorate in educational leadership from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she studied the history of school desegregation in Las Vegas.
 
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