New Government Watchdog Report Finds Growing Racial Segregation in Schools
More than a third of public school students attend a racially segregated school
WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott released a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found persistent and growing racial and socioeconomic segregation in K-12 public schools.
Specifically, the GAO found that, in the 2020-2021 school year, more than one in three public school students attended a school where 75 percent or more of the student population were of a single race or ethnicity. Even more concerning, the report found that district secession—a process by which school districts break up into separate, smaller districts—has generally resulted in new schools with higher concentrations of white students and students from wealthier families.
“While the results of this new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will likely not be surprising to most, every American should be alarmed. After the GAO first revealed in 2016 that public schools are more segregated than at any time since the late 1960s, this report has found that more than one in three public K-12 students attends a racially segregated school. Making matters worse, the report found that some school districts were subdividing into separate school districts and those actions were contributing to schools becoming even more segregated by race and income than before,” said Chairman Scott.
“We know that school segregation doesn’t just isolate low-income students and students of color; it also deprives them of equal access to educational opportunities and resources. This is precisely why Congress must swiftly deliver legislative solutions that I have helped champion for years to promote school integration and address policies and practices that have a discriminatory impact on students. We simply cannot allow our progress toward educational equality in America to be further eroded.”
The GAO previously examined racial and socioeconomic school segregation in a 2016 report, which found a dramatic increase, from 2000 to 2014, in K-12 public schools with significantly high concentrations of poor and Black or Latino students.
The Education and Labor Committee has introduced and advanced two legislative proposals to help achieve equity in education:
- The Strength in Diversity Act would provide resources to states or school districts that want to voluntarily develop plans to integrate their schools.
- The Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act would restore the private right of action for students, parents, and local civil rights groups to bring discrimination claims based on racially disparate impact under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
To read a summary of the report (K-12 Education: Student Population Has Significantly Diversified, But Many Schools Remain Divided Along Racial, Ethnic, and Economic Lines), click here.
To read the full report (K-12 Education: Student Population Has Significantly Diversified, But Many Schools Remain Divided Along Racial, Ethnic, and Economic Lines), click here.
Democratic Press Office, 202-226-0853
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