racially segregated school districts and
metropolitan areas not only have permission, but also a constitutional obligation, to integrate.
That obligation cannot be fulfilled
by school districts alone. Many ghettos
are now so geographically isolated from
white suburbs that voluntary choice,
magnet schools, or fiddling with school
attendance zones can no longer enable
many low-income black children to
attend predominantly middle-class
Narrowing the achievement gap will
require housing desegregation, which
history also teaches cannot be a voluntary matter but is a constitutional
necessity—that is, voiding exclusionary
zoning laws, placing low- and moderate-income housing in predominantly white
suburbs, and ending federal subsidies
for communities that fail to reverse
policies that led to racial exclusion.
Relearning our racial history,
however, should be the first step. EL
1Parents Involved in Community Schools
v. Seattle School District No. 1, 551 U.S.
2Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717
3Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948).
4Bob Jones University v. United States,
461 U.S. 574 (1983).
Blum, S. H. (2006). Race, housing, and the
making of twentieth-century Louisville, Kentucky. Doctoral dissertation, University of
Bryk, A. S., Sebring, P. B., Allensworth, E.,
Luppescu, S., & Easton, J. O. (2010).
Organizing schools for improvement: Lessons
from Chicago. Chicago: University of
City of Seattle. (2012, April 25). City of
Seattle: 2011 Fair housing testing. Seattle,
WA: Seattle Office for Civil Rights.
Retrieved from www.seattle.gov/civil
Davis, K. (2005). Housing segregation in
Seattle. Seattle, WA: Seattle Office for
Civil Rights. Retrieved from www.seattle
Guryan, J. (2004). Desegregation and black
dropout rates. American Economic Review,
94( 4), 919–943.
Rubinowitz, L. S., & Perry, I. (2002).
Copyright © 2013 Richard Rothstein
Richard Rothstein ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
is research associate at the Economic
Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.,
and senior fellow of the Chief Justice
Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social
Policy at the University of California
(Berkeley) School of Law.