Which State Has the Most Segregated Public Schools? (Hint: It’s Not in the South)

A recent study has found that a complex racial history and a lack of programs encouraging diversity have helped New York schools claim the title as the most segregated in the nation. 

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New York state's public school system is the most segregated in the country because most of the state's schools have virtually no white students. The majority of the state's school population is African American and Latino, adding to the growing concern that connects educational problems with lack of diversity. The schools are often poverty-concentrated and include a less-experienced and less-qualified teacher workforce, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report from UCLA's Civil Rights Project studied enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010 and found that almost 30 percent of the state's schools had fewer than 10 percent white students. And in 11 percent of the schools, fewer than 1 in 100 students are white.

According to the study, these numbers are driven by several factors, including New York City's complex racial history of segregation and the influx of charter schools, which some call "apartheid schools." According to the study, more than half of the city's 32 community school districts are "intensely segregated," and a majority of charter schools boost shockingly low numbers, as fewer than 1 percent of the student's population is white.

"In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation—no Southern state comes close to New York," Gary Orfield, one of the study's authors, said. "Decades of reforms ignoring this issue produced strategies that have not succeeded in making segregated schools equal."

Other states rounding out the most-segregated-schools list include Illinois, Michigan, Maryland and New Jersey. Each has a high number of black students and less than 10 percent of the schools' population are white, according to a 2012 study by the same authors. Texas, Delaware, California, New Mexico and Nevada have an equal number of white, black and Latino students.

View the study here.

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