Segregation Persists in Rural School Districts Despite Rising Ethnoracial Diversity

This brief examines the extent and nature of ethnoracial diversity and segregation in rural school districts between 2000 and 2019. We find that rural America and its public school districts are experiencing growing diversity and rising poverty. These overall patterns vary by region and ethnoracial identity of students. Drops in the share of White students and rises in poverty were both substantially more pronounced in districts with a majority of Black, Hispanic, or American Indian and Alaskan Native students. Further, while most rural students became less ethnoracially isolated within their districts, after accounting for each ethnoracial group’s share of rural enrollment, minoritized rural students are the most segregated.

Inching Toward Integration? A Report of Student and Teacher Exposure to Racial Diversity in Pennsylvania’s Public Schools, 2013-2020

In the last decade, Pennsylvania and especially its public school enrollment have experienced racial diversification, and at the state-level there is an increased demographic gap between teachers and students. Brown v Board of Education decision in 1954 was decided, in part, on evidence about the harms of segregation. Research continues to support the benefits of integration of students and teachers. To inform educational leaders and policymakers in Pennsylvania, we analyze data from 2013-14 to 2019-20 to examine, at the school-level, the extent to which students are exposed to diverse students and teachers. In addition, we examine what type of cross-racial experiences teachers have to students and fellow teachers in their schools. We report here our analysis of the three largest groups in PA schools: White, Black, and Latinx students and teachers.

Segregation within Schools: Unequal Access to AP Courses by Race and Economic Status in VirginiaSegregation within Schools: Unequal Access to AP Courses by Race and Economic Status in Virginia

In 2016, a student-led advocacy organization called IntegrateNYC set about reclaiming the three Rs—moving past the standard reading, (w)riting, and ‘rithmetic to a systemic demand for “real integration.” The reimagined R’s offer a full portrait of school integration, one that focuses both on bringing a diverse group of students into the same school together, and then on successfully leading, teaching and learning in diverse schools and classrooms.

The other briefs in this series on school segregation in Virginia focus on the drivers and nature of segregation between schools. This one focuses mainly on segregation within schools, drawing on both the resource allocation “R” and the relationships across group identity “R,” in the form of access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Click here to download the April 2021 report Segregation within Schools: Unequal Access to AP Courses by Race and Economic Status in Virginia by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Kendra Taylor, Erica Frankenberg & Kimberly Bridges.

Click here for a summary of recommendations provided in this series of briefs on School Integration in Virginia.

Double Segregation by Race and Poverty in Virginia SchoolsDouble Segregation by Race and Poverty in Virginia Schools

Race and class, related but distinct student and family attributes, intersect in powerful ways to shape learning opportunities.

A recent Stanford study, based on roughly 100 million test scores in over 300 metro areas, found that disparate white and Black student exposure to school poverty is highly correlated with persistent racial achievement gaps. In other words, racially unequal concentrations of poverty in schools are a central explanation for the racial achievement gap, as measured by standardized test scores.

This research brief explores the contours of school segregation by race and poverty in Virginia over the past decade.

Click here to download the April 2021 report Double Segregation by Race and Poverty in Virginia Schools by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Kendra Taylor, Erica Frankenberg & Kimberly Bridges.

Click here for a summary of recommendations provided in this series of briefs on School Integration in Virginia.

School Segregation by Boundary Line in Virginia: Scope, Significance and State Policy SolutionsSchool Segregation by Boundary Line in Virginia: Scope, Significance and State Policy Solutions

School segregation by race and poverty is deepening in Virginia.

In an era of swift demographic change in both cities and suburbs, alongside sharply rising inequality, renewed attention to the dynamics of segregation grows more important. School district and attendance boundary lines that wall-off communities with highly differentiated wealth help structure segregation. Over time, these invisible boundaries acquire strong social meaning flowing from the unequal allocation of educational resources and, relatedly, the racial/ethnic and economic makeup of students who attend schools within them.

Click here to download the November 2020 report School Segregation by Boundary Line in Virginia: Scope, Significance and State Policy Solutions by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Kendra Taylor, Kimberly Bridges, Erica Frankenberg, Andrene Castro, Shenita Williams & Sarah Haden.

Click here for a summary of recommendations provided in this series of briefs on School Integration in Virginia.

COVID Fall 2020 Plans in PA

As summer wanes, educators and community leaders face tough challenges in determining how to open public schools across the Commonwealth and nation due to the unabated nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has unevenly affected communities for reasons related to structural racism and inequality. In order to reopen, Pennsylvania required each of its 500 school districts to submit their own Health and Safety plans for the 2020-2021 academic year. We surveyed all districts’ Health and Safety plans in an effort to understand trends in reopening decisions across the state.

School Integration in Massachusetts: Racial Diversity and State Accountability

Working with the Beyond Test Scores project at UMass-Lowell, the Center for Education and Civil Rights reviewed over a decade of demographic data on Massachusetts K-12 public schools as well as the previous 8 years of state accountability data. Our new report documents troubling trends in the rise of intensely segregated schools serving students of color as well as decreases in the share of racially diverse schools and intensely segregated white schools consistent with the increase in diversity across the state since 2008.

School and Residential Segregation in School Districts with Voluntary Integration Policies

Peabody Journal of Education, October 1, 2019 by Kendra Taylor, Jeremy Anderson, Erica Frankenberg

This study documents and measures the racial and income segregation from 2000 to 2015 in U.S. districts engaged in voluntary integration, examining the relationship between integration methods and levels of segregation.  Block group-level segregation is also measured to better understand residential patterns of segregation within the districts and contextualize school-level trends.

Race-conscious Educational Policies in the Post-Obama Era: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Civil Society

CECR Director Erica Frankenberg (Principal Investigator), Genevieve Siegel-Hawley from Virginia Commonwealth University, and Kathryn McDermott from University of Massachusetts, Amherst were awarded a Spencer grant to examine whether and through what processes civil rights federal policies changed during the current administration.

Using Socioeconomic-Based Strategies to Further Racial Integration in K12 Schools

This literature review by CECR Director Erica Frankenberg is published by the Intercultural Development Research Association - Equity Assistance Center, Southern Region as one part of their web package on Using Socioeconomic-Based Strategies to Further Racial Integration, which also includes a summary of this literature review.  

School District Secessions: How Boundary Lines Stratify School and Neighborhood Populations in Jefferson County, Alabama, 1968-2014

This CECR publication by Penn State College of Education Professor Erica Frankenberg and PhD Candidate Kendra Taylor considers how the creation of  school district boundary lines may further separate neighborhoods and schools into homogenous subunits. 

Student Assignment Policies to Promote Voluntary Integration

This project is aimed at examining empirical evidence regarding the extent to which districts are implementing integration policies, and whether — and under what conditions — schools are diverse when districts use such policies.

Southern Schools More Than a Half-Century After the Civil Rights Revolution

Black and Latino students in the South are increasingly isolated in intensely segregated schools and are doubly segregated in schools serving low-income students, according to new research released May 24, 2017 by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA and the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State. This report shows reversal of civil rights era gains in the region and that charter schools are more segregated for Black and Latino students.

School Integration Matters

Published by Teachers College Press, the book brings together interdisciplinary perspectives from both education and legal scholars and considers curricular, political, and legal approaches to addressing civil rights issues in education. Edited by Erica Frankenberg, Liliana M. Garces, and Megan Hopkins.

Purchase the book here.

Brown At 62: School Segregation by Race, Poverty and State

Gary Orfield, Jongyeon Ee, Erica Frankenberg, and Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Published as the 62nd anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision arrived again without any major initiatives to mitigate spreading and deepening segregation in our nation’s schools, this Civil Rights Project research brief draws from a much broader study of school segregation to be published in September 2016. The authors show the obvious importance of confronting these issues given the strong relationship between racial and economic segregation and inferior educational opportunities clearly demonstrated in research over many decades.

Download the brief from the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

Educational Delusions? Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make it Fair

Gary Orfield, Erica Frankenberg

The Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education

Edited by Erica Frankenberg and Gary Orfield

Integrating Schools in a Changing Society

Edited by Erica Frankenberg and Elizabeth DeBray

Voluntary Integration in U.S. School Districts, 2000–2015

Erica Frankenberg, Jeremy Anderson, and Kendra Taylor

Published by CECR, this brief highlights preliminary findings of an ongoing exploration of what methods of voluntary integration are used by U.S. school discricts, to what extent, and where. The authors also measure the levels of racial and free and reduced lunch segregation within these discrtics, in order to understand the patterns of segregation over time where voluntary integration is occurring. 

Voluntary Integration Policies in U.S. School Districts

Jeremy Anderson, Kendra Taylor, and Erica Frankenberg

In this review, U.S. school discricts engaged in using student assignment policies to voluntarily integrate schools, are surveyed to provide examples of voluntary integration policies, to illustrate the variety of ways school districts define diversity, and to analyze the relationship between policy and school and residential integration.  

Lousiville, KY: Jefferson County Public Schools Geography-Based Integration Plan

Dr. Jennifer Jellison Holme and Dr. Erica Frankenberg


CECR Director Erica Frankenberg serves as advisor to the Pennsylvania Education Equity Project (PEEP) which has to date produced 10 conference papers from original research on educational equity in Pennsylvania and hosted events on educational equity on campus and for the community.