Monte Piliawsky, associate professor of teaching for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education, quoted in Financial Times, “U.S. schools still have a racial segregation problem”

Financial Times, 11/16 (subscriber access)
U.S. schools still have a racial segregation problem
By Patti Waldmeir

“Unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together.” Thus did Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice of the US Supreme Court, condemn the court’s ruling in a landmark 1974 civil rights case, Milliken vs Bradley. The ruling turned back the clock on primary and secondary school integration in America, before it had barely begun. Now the court is again gearing up for what could prove a momentous ruling on race and education in America, as it considers the fate of “affirmative action” in university admissions. But whatever the ruling, education experts say a far bigger problem remains: US primary and secondary (known as K-12) schools are still highly segregated by race, and the situation is worse today than it was 30 years ago. In Milliken vs Bradley, the Supreme Court shot down the best remedy anyone could think of: Detroit area high school students like me were to have been bussed between outlying white suburbs and (mostly black) inner city schools. Court battles kept the plan on ice until I graduated, when the Supreme Court threw it out. “The Milliken ruling profoundly set the stage,” says Monte Piliawsky, an expert on race and education at Wayne State University in Detroit, “because it held that de facto racial segregation in schools is not unconstitutional.”

← Back to listing