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Challenging a Segregated and Unequal School System

Challenging a Segregated and Unequal School System
Donna Nevel, Huffington Post, December 6, 2010

That our nation’s schools are segregated and unequal has been well-documented. In fact, according to a recent report of the Civil Rights Project, UCLA, “Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades.” Certainly, all the students and families who live that reality daily know it well.

However, too often, that reality is not acknowledged. As education writer Jonathan Kozol makes clear: “Perhaps most damaging to any serious effort to address racial segregation openly is the refusal of most of the major arbiters of culture in our northern cities to confront or even clearly name an obvious reality they would have castigated with a passionate determination in another section of the nation 50 years before — and which, moreover, they still castigate today in retrospective writings that assign it to a comfortably distant and allegedly concluded era of the past.”

The denial of this obvious reality and the refusal to acknowledge it for what it is would seem surreal if it weren’t so real — and so destructive. In its report “Segregated and Unequal: The Public Elementary Schools of District 3 in New York City,” the Center for Immigrant Families (CIF), a community organization of low income women of color and community members (of which I am part), speaks about the importance of breaking “the normalization of segregation, that is, the way that it has become accepted as ‘just the way things are’.” (Read more)