SEPT 2016 UPDATES   Like us on Facebook View our videos on YouTube

Students and educators from 12 districts across NYC generated collective definitions of segregation and integration. They then created a hashtag to spread awareness about their formation of the City-Wide Youth Council on School Integration! #makeAmericaInteGREAT 
A preview of Ending Zero Tolerance: The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline
by Derek Black

As detailed in my new book Ending Zero Tolerance, our nation's continuing problems with school discipline are deeply intertwined with the legacy of racial segregation and inequality.  The book tells the racial history of school discipline and also focuses on new research demonstrating that continuing segregation has a significant influence on the racial achievement gap.  One study finds that almost half of the variance in achievement between African American students and their peers is attributable to the fact that they attend segregated schools with highly problematic discipline policies and practices.

So much of the defense of the disciplinary status quo is premised on the notion that rigid discipline promotes safe and orderly schools.  But the root of this theory is less flattering.  Once it became clear in the 1960s that whites could not stop school integration, discipline policy became an outlet for their anxieties.  Rather than oppose integration, many demanded law and order in the schools.  The net result was a significant increase the use of suspension and expulsion, as well as escalating racial disparities. 

African American communities challenged discriminatory discipline in school desegregation and other litigation, but lower courts struggled with how best to respond.  The logistics of reforming student assignment policies was the most pressing issue for most.  Not until the 1975 in Goss v. Lopez did school discipline finally made it to the Supreme Court.  Yet, even then, the Court did not address race directly and instead extended constitutional protections to all students facing suspension or expulsion.  On its face, the Court explained Goss as a straightforward application of due process to school discipline, but as J. Harvie Wilkinson explained "Goss ultimately represents more of a sequel to Brown v. Board of Education than [anything else]. If in Brown the racial question was very much on the surface, in Goss it lay not very far below." 

Regardless, Goss's due process protections proved entirely inadequate to limit racial disparities in discipline or even irrational suspension and expulsion in general.  As a result, the same fundamental discipline problems of the desegregation era remain with us today.  New research, however, suggests that the problem stretches far beyond just discipline or segregation: segregation drives discipline inequality and discipline inequality drives an achievement gap.

In 2004, Xin Ma and Douglas Willms found that the percentage of low-income or middle-income students in a school strongly correlated with the disciplinary climate and academic achievement in that school. From that finding, they concluded that "if the extent of segregation in school districts or communities increases, . . . there will be an increase in the variation of both disciplinary climate and academic achievement at the school level. In schools where advantaged students are concentrated, there will be fewer discipline problems and higher achievement levels, whereas schools serving disadvantaged students will have even worse discipline problems and lower levels of academic achievement."

More recently, Richard Arum and Melissa Velez reached the same conclusion. "[A] large and significant component of the negative effects of attending economically disadvantaged schools on test score performance is associated with the dysfunctional disciplinary climates that exist there." Because African Americans are disproportionately consigned to high-poverty schools, they are also disproportionately consigned to dysfunctional disciplinary climates. When they put these two points together, Arum and Velez found that nearly half of the variations in the racial achievement gap is explained by segregation. 

Strong stuff. Get the full story of the racial aspects of school discipline, the flaws of current approaches, and a strategy for reform in Ending Zero Tolerance (NYU Press).

On September 16, the U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance titled " Using Evidence to Strengthen Education Investments. " This guidance is designed to help stakeholders leverage evidence-based interventions to improve student outcomes. The two part document includes information on how to include evidence in decision-making, as well as a clear definition of "evidence-based" under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

On September 23, the Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance designed to aid states, districts, and schools provide equitable services to bolster both the English language acquisition and academic success of English Learners. Among other topics, the guidance covers the use of Title III funds to serve English Learners, the delivery of language instruction programs, information on parent and community engagement, and resources for administrators and educators working with English Learners.

The Institute for Educational Sciences recently launched a new website for the What Works Clearinghouse, designed to help educators and policymakers find programs and interventions that evidence shows have had a positive impact on student outcomes. This update is especially timely given the emphasis on evidence-based interventions in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
ERASE Racism (Long Island, NY)

ERASE Racism is seeking an Education Equity Campaign Coordinator
and a Communications Campaign Coordinator to help them achieve their vision of transformed, integrated communities in which no person's access to opportunity is limited by race or ethnicity.
Sheff Movement (Hartford, CT) 
The Director of Communications and Community Partnerships will lead Sheff Movement's efforts to build public support for its program of achieving quality integrated education in the schools of Greater Hartford. He/she will oversee SMC communications with and SMC organizing activities in the communities of Greater Hartford.    
Update from:  The Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District

Dallas Independent School District celebrates the opening of its first "transformation" school this year. Solar Prep is an all-girl STEM school with a focus on socioeconomic and racial diversity, with half of the students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Solar Prep is also racially diverse and draws students from across the area, including 53 students from private schools and 29 from charters.

Update from: Teaching Tolerance 
During a time when political dialogue in our country is increasingly tense, Teaching Tolerance has produced a teaching tool to help people  explore the issues and weigh the candidates and their proposed policies, while engaging in conversations civilly and respectfully. Click here to learn more.
Update from: The Sheff Movement coalition
Philip Tegeler, of PRRAC, and Jenna Tomasello, of the American Youth Policy Forum, weigh in on the importance of the court's continuing jurisdiction in the  Sheff v. O'Neill case in Hartford, CT. This op-ed draws lessons for the Hartford region from the rapid resegregation of city schools in Buffalo, NY, following the removal of court oversight in 1995, illustrating the potential for rapid reversal of educational gains if court oversight of the Sheff remedy is ended.
Update from: New York Appleseed
Alternative admissions plans in several NYC schools, championed by New York Appleseed, begin to bear fruit this school year. While still complying with precedent  set by the Parents Involved case in 2007,  Brooklyn New School's creative admissions strategy ensures a baseline of diversity in the face of increasing gentrification.
Chalkbeat NY (Sept. 20)

New York City's universal prekindergarten program is an excellent opportunity to give all students a strong educational start, and diverse classrooms can set the stage for integration in later grade.  In this article, Chalkbeat NY raises up a recent report from Halley Potter at The Century Foundation, which finds the city's universal pre-k program could do much more to track and encourage socioeconomic diversity in its classrooms.
Harvard Political Review (Sept. 9)

Catherine Zhang examines the history of school integration developments since Brown v. Board of Education, including the key legal decisions which have resulted in our current, persistent state of widespread segregation. However, Zhang notes there are reasons to be hopeful, as local advocates begin repurposing the tools of white flight to foster integration by choice, and the federal governments breathes new life into the movement with the Stronger Together proposal.
The new Center for Civil Rights and Education at Penn State University, housed in the College of Education, will "promote the study of inequality in education and facilitate action to advance racial equity in education by reinvigorating the civil rights movement in this field. Co-directors Erica Frankenberg and Liliana Garces created the center.
Upcoming Events of Interest

The Coleman Report at 50:Its Legacy and Enduring Value
Host: Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Baltimore, MD

Technical Assistance and Training Conference: Designing for Sustainability 
Host: Magnet Schools of America
Washington, DC
Integration Design Challenge: What are the key ingredients for a fair, coordinated, and sustainable school integration system in Greater Hartford?
Host: Sheff Movement
Hartford, CT
Integration Success Stories
Hosts: The Center for New York City Affairs and InsideSchools
New York, NY
Exploring education equity 50 years after Coleman
Hosts: Vanderbilt's Center for Nashville Studies; Vanderbilt Community, Neighborhood and Local Government Relations; and Peabody College
Nashville, TN
Detroit and the Future of Integration: A Policy Discussion on Education and Urban Development
Host: Institute for Social Progress at Wayne County Community College District
Detroit, MI
NAME: The Multicultural Lens of Equity for ALL
Host: National Association for Multicultural Education
Cleveland, OH

The National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD) is a network of national civil rights organizations, university-based research centers, and state and local coalitions working to expand support for government policies that promote school diversity and reduce racial and economic isolation. We also support the work of state and local school diversity practitioners. Our work is informed by an advisory panel of scholars and academic researchers whose work relates to issues of equity, diversity, and desegregation/integration .

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund  -  Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund American Civil Liberties Union Poverty & Race Research Action Council  -  Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law  -  Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund  -  Magnet Schools of America  -  One Nation Indivisible  -  Teaching Tolerance  -  Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School  -  Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA  -  Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University  -  University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights  -  Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University  -  Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley  -  Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity at UC Berkeley School of Law  -  Education Rights Center, Howard University School of Law  -  Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota Law School  -  Education Law Center  -  New York Appleseed  -  Sheff Movement Coalition  -  Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation   -  ERASE Racism  -  Chicago Lawyers' Committee  -  Empire Justice Center  -  IntegrateNYC4me  -  Intercultural Development Research Association  - Reimagining Integration: The Diverse and Equitable Schools Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education - Institute for Social Progress at Wayne County Community College District  -  Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity at Rutgers Law School  Equity Assistance Center (Region II) at Touro College -   The Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District  - Live Baltimore -  Maryland Equity Project

Contact Us
  National Coalition on School Diversity
c/o Poverty and Race Research Action Council
Mailing Address: 1200 18th St. NW #200 Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-544-5066