We have little hope of remedying school
segregation that flows from neighborhood racial
isolation if we don’t understand its causes.
Social and economic disadvantage—not only poverty, but also a host of associated conditions—depresses student performance. Concentrating students with these disadvantages in racially and economically
homogenous schools depresses it even further.
Our ability to remedy this situation by integrating
schools is hobbled by historical ignorance. Too quickly
forgetting 20th-century history, we’ve persuaded ourselves
that the residential isolation of low-income black children
occurs in practice but is not government-ordained.
We think residential segregation is but an accident of
economic circumstance, personal preference, and
However, residential segregation is actually the result
of racially motivated law, public policy, and government-sponsored discrimination. The result of state action,
residential segregation reflects an ongoing and blatant
constitutional violation that calls for explicit remedy.