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During these past few busy months you may have missed the launch of ProPublica‘s “Segregation Now,” which takes a deep look at how how America’s schools have steadily resegregated since the Brown v. Board of Education federal ruling that was handed down sixty years ago.

The ProPublica series begins with Nikole Hannah-Jones’ investigation of Tuscaloosa’s city schools, which are among the most rapidly resegregating in the country. Not only is the story enriched with a beautiful visual layout and great interactive graphics, Hannah-Jones compels readers to put themselves into the shoes of the Dent family.

The Dents are a multi-generational family that has lived through it all in Tuscaloosa: Jim Crow-era public school segregation, the eventual efforts to desegregate after Brown, and today’s reality: public schools are moving back toward resegregation, and what that means for today’s Tuscaloosan youth.

Alabama is not alone in this trajectory. For example, here in North Carolina’s Pitt County, the issue of public school segregation has been front and center.

Pitt County has been under desegregation orders since 1965, when the federal court found that the district was operating racially-segregated, dual and unconstitutional school systems.

Pitt’s African American population stands today around 34 percent — but in its 35 public schools, African-American students make up the majority, according to district records. In 2012-13, close to 48 percent of its students were black, 38 percent white, and 10 percent Latino.

Last fall, a U.S. District Court judge lifted desegregation orders, finding the school district to have fully complied and achieved “unitary status,” or had fully desegregated its public school system.

An appeal of that decision will be heard in September the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Until then, check out the entire ProPublica series, “Segregation Now,” while you cool off by the pool this weekend.

Local political organizer/activist Bryan Perlmutter has called our attention to an exciting summer training program for Triangle-area young people:

“Calling Triangle-Area Teens:  Work this summer to stop racism & school re-segregation, challenge the school to prison pipeline, and make schools safe for LBGTQ youth (and get paid!).

 
The Institute will take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from July 9-25, with one overnight retreat. 
Entering its fourth year the Youth Organizing Institute is committed to training, supporting, and developing the next generation of activists, organizers, and social change leaders in North Carolina.

Applications are due June 1.

Get the full story by clicking here.

Reporter Travis Fain had an interesting story in the Winston-Salem Journal yesterday about the re-segregation of Forsyth County’s schools that has occurred in recent decades and the illusion that “school choice” can somehow provide a remedy for this situation. Wake County and others that have not already become fully resegregated themselves should pay attention.

Here’s a powerful passage:

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system used to bus students across town to balance the schools. But the U.S. Supreme Court struck down those tactics in a series of decisions in the 1990s. Locally, busing was phased out starting in 1995 in favor of “choice zones,” which allow parents to choose from among multiple schools.

Racial resegregation quickly accelerated in the schools and led to concentrated poverty in certain schools. Read More

Not that it comes as much of a surprise, but another national study has confirmed what advocates for maintaining school intregration in Wake County have been saying for years: good schools drive up home values.

According to the Brookings Institution as reported by CNN: “Home values are $205,000 higher, on average, in neighborhoods with high-scoring public schools versus schools with low scores.” 

In other words, Wake County’s longstanding reputation as being a place in which “there are no bad schools” is an enormous boon to real estate values and overall economic wellbeing throughout the county. To the extent the powers that be (like Superintendent Tata and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce) continue allow the gradual re-segregation of schools by income, they are sure to bring about a widespread decline in home values in many areas and a rapidly expanding gap between various sections of the county.