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Educational Policy Studies News

UW-Madison’s Stern speaks with WhoWhatWhy.org about segregation in schools

January 18, 2019

WhoWhatWhy.org last month published a report explaining that, “nearly 65 years after the landmark 'Brown v. Board of Education' ruling, schools across the U.S. are quietly being resegregated — and many were never fully desegregated to start with.

Among the experts utilized to put this topic in perspective is UW-Madison’s Walter Stern, an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies.

Walter Stern
Stern
Stern, a historian of education, is the author of a 2018 book titled, “Race & Education in New Orleans: Creating the Segregated City, 1764-1960.” He explains to WhoWhatWhy.org how cities, such as New Orleans, have historically allocated resources and protections disproportionately to white communities, and these practices continue today despite anti-discrimination laws.

WhoWhatWhy.org reports: “One example Dr. Stern cited is the heavy policing of minority neighborhoods. When coupled with strict sentencing laws and ‘a slew of other criminal justice policies,’ the effort tends to reduce the potential earnings and stability in minority neighborhoods and reinforce racialized poverty.”

The report continues: “The issue of school choice further complicates this modern segregation. White parents are not only able to shop around for the best public schools, but are also more likely to send their children to private schools where, in some places, applications are only available in English. Many people of color choose to send their children to charter schools, another perpetuator of segregation. In 2015, over 1,000 charter schools had a 99 percent minority enrollment rate.”

School segregation gives “white people who have benefitted from preferential treatment the false sense that they earned those advantages through their own efforts rather than through the active intervention of powerful institutions such as the government. There is a degree of assumed racial superiority in this kind of thinking,” Stern tells WhoWhatWhy.org.

To learn much more about this important topic, check out the entire report for free on this WhoWhatWhy.org web page. WhoWhatWhy.org is an investigative journalism website.

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