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TC Study Documents "Separate But Unequal" Suburban Schools

Sixty Years After the Brown Decision, Teachers College Study Finds
“Separate But Unequal” Schools Prevalent in Nassau County, Long Island

Report notes the trend in “hundreds of suburban counties across the country”

Sixty years after the historic  Brown vs. Board of Education  Supreme Court decision, schools and communities in suburban Nassau County, Long Island, are segregated by race and ethnicity, resulting in schools with mostly black and Latino students and fewer resources than majority-white schools, according to a new study released by Teachers College on May 2.

The report, Divided We Fall: The Story of Separate and Unequal Suburban Schools 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education,  which is online here:  http://bit.ly/PXy3HQ, was discussed at an all-day symposium at Teachers College about the impact on today’s suburbs of the Brown decision.

The report was authored by TC's Amy Stuart Wells, Professor of Sociology and Education; Douglas Ready, Associate Professor of Education and Public Policy; doctoral students Lauren Fox, Tameka Spence, Elizabeth Williams and Allen Wright; and alumnae Allison Roda and Miya Warner.

Scheduled speakers at the symposium included experts on race, schools and housing from Teachers College, Harvard, Brown, Georgetown, Northwestern, the universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as local education and government officials in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Xavier de Souza Briggs, vice president for economic opportunity and assets at the Ford Foundation, delivered opening remarks, and Jeanie Oakes, director of educational opportunity and scholarship programs at Ford, was set to close the proceedings.

An agenda for the symposium, including a schedule and biographies of speakers, is online here:  http://bit.ly/1lHmQrg . A live webcast of the symposium may be accessed here:  http://bit.ly/1hkbKn8 for the duration of the event.

The report describes a “perfect storm” of economic and political factors—including budget constraints, increasingly burdensome accountability mandates, and mounting anti-public education sentiment among some stakeholders—which are taking a heavy toll on racially changing suburban schools and leading some to question whether or not the county’s network of small, racially homogeneous school districts are too inefficient to be sustained.

“The same story could be told about hundreds of suburban counties across the country that are facing similar pressures,” writes Amy Stuart Wells, professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, who authored the report with statistical analysis by Douglas Ready, associate professor of education and public policy.

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