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 regionís 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 Vegasís 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 Vegasís mandatory school desegregation plan and the African American communityís 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 theoryís 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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