White flight is still going on in Sacramento when people of color move into the numerous apartment houses long streets of "major traffic" such as Marconi Avenue, Watt Avenue, and Howe Avenue in Arden Arcade and middle-class white, Asian, and Hispanic homeowners on the side streets who have lived in their houses usually for decades sell their homes to investors or move, buy new homes, and rent out their modest two and three bedroom houses on side streets. You can check out the abstract of the new study, "Decomposing School Resegregation: Social Closure, Racial Imbalance, and Racial Isolation" recently published in the American Sociological Review. Segregation still is a problem.
Many aging homeowners in Arden arcade don't want to move or sell their homes just because the apartments around the corner from many of the side-street houses, on the on the main thoroughfare of heavy traffic are populated by various minority groups. It's an issue not of race but of who rents and who can afford to buy homes. Many renters were priced out of the chance to buy a home when Bay area investors bought up the homes for cash, pricing out first-time buyers, usually families with young children who didn't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to buy the homes without putting money down and getting loans.
It's an issue for most of the aging homeowners who don't want to move and yet feel frightened to walk to shopping in their own neighborhoods because they are afraid of being discriminated against by youths of color, especially young families. The problem is one of fear. When a customer complained about a panhandler in the parking lot of a local supermarket, the first question to customers in the checkout line was about the race of the panhandler. He was white. But there's a constant and growing presence of panhandlers in supermarket parking lots in Sacramento.
The problem of segregation in schools is not limited to Sacramento. In fact, segregation in American schools is still problematic, despite best efforts
As American schools struggle with issues of race, diversity and achievement, a new study in the American Sociological Review has split the difference in the ongoing discussion of resegregation. Yes, black, white and Hispanic students were less likely to share classrooms in 2010 than in 1993, but no, that increase in segregation is usually not the result of waning efforts to reduce it, according to the November 1, 2013 news release, "Segregation in American schools still problematic, despite best efforts." The new study has been published online, August 27, 2013 (before print) in the American Sociological Review.
"People have a general idea that at the national level, there is widespread resegregation, based on the minority-white composition of the average school, says author Jeremy Fiel, in the November 1, 2013 news release, "Segregation in American schools still problematic, despite best efforts." Fiel is a sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A significant part of the reduction in classroom diversity is simply a result of the increasing share of the Hispanic population and the declining share of whites, Fiel says. "Blacks and Hispanics have attended schools with a smaller proportion of whites over time, but the composition of schools depends on the composition of the area.
"If an area is 50-50 black and white, like some metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan counties, you can't do anything to make the average black student's school more than 50 percent white or less than 50 percent black," he says in the news release. Segregation is back in the news because many school districts are moving away from mandatory desegregation plans, and often these districts do become more segregated in terms of the balance of whites and minorities across schools, Fiel says in the news release. But that finding, by itself, does not prove that intentional or reversible resegregation is taking place nationwide. You might also wish to take a look at another study, "A Broken Public? Americans’ Responses to the Great Recession." You have neighborhoods of renters and homeowners where fear among aging homeowners is generating where it shouldn't be rearing its head. In schools you have segregation issues.
And among the older homeowners living around the corner from the renters, you have homeowners following the families of renters to see which kids are dumping fast-food packaging, littering sidewalks where homeowners are constantly following the litter trail and picking up the empty cups and fast-food bags from the lawns. But the renters have been preventing from buying their first homes due to investors coming in from out of town and paying all-cash for the homes, then renting them out at prices higher than the usual two-bedroom apartments along the streets with heavy traffic, around the corner from the quieter side streets with private homes.
At the same time the burglar alarm companies have been going door to door in a promotion to sell various types of alarm devices. The result is fear as more property crime is reported, stolen car covers, cars, home invasions, and fear generating to the degree that many aging homeowners are selling their homes or renting them and moving from older areas which are conveniently located near supermarkets. The cycle in Sacramento is turning blocks of homes into rentals. The flight in neighborhoods often reflects the segregation in schools even though families may be decades apart in age and generations.
To study the causes of the increasing segregation of American schools, Fiel used data from theNational Center for Education Statistics
Focusing on 1993-2010, he compared the racial makeup of schools to that of their surrounding areas, and calculated how school composition would look if all schools were desegregated to match local populations. "The difference between the actual change in school composition and the change in the hypothetical desegregated world is due to changes in policies that promote or reduce segregation," Fiel says in the news release.
Viewing it this way — as a comparison of ideal to actual — brought Fiel to a surprising conclusion. Even though minorities are attending schools with fewer whites, "the exposure of blacks and Hispanics to whites was actually higher than would be expected," given a massive change in the composition of the student population. "That's the major finding."
Fiel used a similar process to find that private and charter schools play minor roles in segregation
The biggest contributor to the separation of whites and minorities, he found, occurs between different school districts in the same area, whose overall populations tend to be segregated along racial lines. "That's important," says Fiel, who taught school in Mississippi for three years, "as most desegregation policies that people talk about in this discussion of resegregation are at the district level: How are we going to replace busing, or use another technique to avoid segregation?"
Those questions are off the mark, he says in the news release, "because they are confined to a school district and don't address the biggest contributor to the separation of whites and minorities, which spans district lines."
District-level plans do have a role, Fiel agrees. "We might see segregation increase in a district if they reduce their efforts to achieve racial diversity, but given current realities, further efforts to implement district-level desegregation would have minimal impact on the problem that people want to address, the separation of whites and minority students. We need to think more creatively, to find different ways to address the problem of larger-scale segregation or improve schools in spite of the segregation that exists."
As the nation grows ever more diverse, school segregation causes difficulties in educational achievement, social and economic advancement, and social harmony, Fiel says in the news release. "I study segregation because I view it as a problem. But if we want to address it, we need to know what is actually happening."
Any study about such a hot-button issue is subject to misinterpretation, Fiel says in the news release. "My main worry is that people will interpret this study as saying that resegregation is not happening anywhere, or is not a problem, but that's not what the study shows. I find no widespread, national trend toward resegregation, at least in terms of processes that separate students, but the United States has large-scale changes in the composition of our population and we need to take them seriously to address the problems of segregation."
Today’s typical minority student attends school with fewer whites than his counterpart in 1970, according to the abstract of this recent study
This apparent resegregation of U.S. schools has sparked outrage and debate. Some blame a rollback of desegregation policies designed to distribute students more evenly among schools; others blame the changing racial composition of the student population. This study clarifies the link between distributive processes of segregation, population change, and school racial composition by framing school segregation as a mode of social closure.
In the new study, researchers used a novel decomposition approach to determine the relative contributions of distributive processes and compositional change in the apparent resegregation of schools from 1993 to 2010. For the most part, compositional changes are to blame for the declining presence of whites in minorities’ schools.
During this period, whites and minorities actually became more evenly distributed across schools, helping increase minority students’ exposure to whites. Further decompositions reveal the continued success of district-level desegregation efforts, but the greatest barrier to progress appears to be the uneven distribution of students between school districts in the same area. These findings call for new research and new policies to address contemporary school segregation.