The Atlantic

Segregation Is Preventable. Congress Just Isn’t Trying.

Again and again, federal efforts to promote integration have been whittled down almost to nothing.
Source: Reuters

When the Supreme Court struck down school segregation 65 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education, it overturned the doctrine that separate institutions for black and white people were constitutional so long as they were equally funded. Yet in the White House and in the halls of Congress, the old approach has shown enormous staying power. For decades, federal lawmakers have poured far more money into racially and economically segregated schools than they have invested in trying to integrate them. And the imbalance keeps getting worse.

Today the federal government’s main tool for promoting integration is the aid it provides to magnet schools, which offer specialized academic $115 million for the magnet-school-assistance program—and for the Title I “compensatory education” program, which offers extra money to schools with a high concentration of poor children. In other words, the federal government was willing to spend 40 times as much on alleviating the effects of poverty and school segregation than on preventing segregation in the first place.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min readWellness
Measles Can Be Contained. Anti-Semitism Cannot.
Just as the anti-vaccination movement feeds off a handful of fringe outsiders, long-standing stereotypes about Jews have found a new vector in the latest outbreak of the disease.
The Atlantic6 min read
The Priesthood Has Meaning, and Not Just for Male Priests
Calls for the abolition of the Church’s clerical establishment ignore something important: the wishes of the faithful.
The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
The Day the National Guard Raided a Dorm in North Carolina
Violence in the spring of 1969 marred the commencement festivities for that year’s North Carolina A&T graduates. This year, they finally got to celebrate.