(MONTGOMERY, ALA) More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education offered the hope of integrated classrooms, today's schools not only remain racially segregated, but are dividing along gender lines, sexual orientation and immigration status in the name of better education, according to the Spring 2010 issue of Teaching Tolerance magazine.
"The sad truth is that our public schools are more racially segregated today than they were 40 years ago," said Lecia Brooks, director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). "We're back to buying into the belief that separate can be equal -- and this time around we're not limiting segregated classrooms to race."
In a series of articles titled "The New Segregation," Teaching Tolerance examines the state of racial segregation in public schools and how some educators are embracing the idea of creating schools and classrooms that separate other groups of students who are often ill-served by schools.
Today, one-third of black students attend school in places where the population is more than 90 percent black. Almost half of white students attend schools that are more than 90 percent white. One-third of all black and Latino students attend high-poverty schools where more than 75 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches, as compared to 4 percent of white students.
The magazine examines the practice of creating gender-segregated classrooms and looks at schools created to provide safe havens for gay students hoping to escape harassment and bullying. It also explores schools focused on the needs of immigrant students and describes the obstacles encountered by students with mental disabilities in mainstream classrooms.
Other articles offer educators tips on how to address issues related to segregation that they may face in their own classrooms -- whether it is teaching the Civil Rights Movement in a segregated community or reaching the lone student of color in a class. They are also experimenting with segregating students based on characteristics other than race.