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Worsens Segregation

  • Desegregated schools have produced significant gains for US society. After the Supreme Court declared "separate but unequal" education systems unconstitutional in 1954, court-ordered integration programs followed. Long-term studies show that affected African-American children experienced higher earnings and better health as adults thanks to these programs. (Source: Christian Science Monitor)

  • Since the 1980s, American schools have once again gotten more segregated. The federal government's most recent Private School Survey shows high levels of segregation in private schools, particularly private religious schools, with whites and minorities enrolling at drastically different rates. (Source: Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis) A UCLA study found the number of highly segregated schools has tripled. (Source: UCLA Civil Rights Project

  • Efforts to shift minority students from public into private education fail to improve integration. A comprehensive study on tax credit scholarships in Georgia found those scholarships maintain or worsen student isolation by race and ethnicity. (Source: "A Failed Experiment," The Southern Education Foundation) 

  • Voucher programs rarely help low-income students move to elite private schools with upper-income whites and Asians. For families in low-income, minority-dominated school districts, "school choice" rarely involves schools that are more integrated. Instead, these families often have choices only between poorly funded, low-performing public schools and less-selective, voucher-dependent private schools with similar low-income, minority-dominated student bodies. (Source: The Atlantic)

  • Voucher programs tend to worsen segregation. Statistics show white families using vouchers to leave an increasingly diverse public school system in favor of predominantly white, upper-class private schools. This increases the concentration of wealthier students in private schools, contributing to homogeneity at these institutions and limiting opportunities for diversity at others. (Source: The Atlantic

  • The effects of vouchers on segregation are not limited to race and income. A comprehensive study in New Orleans found statistically significant increase in segregation across the board, not only for race and income, but also for special education status, English-language learner status, and achievement. If the broader pattern persists, the study found, segregation will likely remain an issue in cities around the country for years to come.  (Source: Brookings)

  • A recent comprehensive academic review concludes: "School choice was marketed to policymakers as a breakthrough strategy for innovation and high achievement. As a group, [these schools] have neither proven to be innovative hotbeds nor delivered on high achievement. ... Most troubling is the side effect of contributing to and advancing the resegregation of schools and society. This raises the specter of separate and unequal educational opportunities and is not compatible with the goals of a democratic society." (Source: Research-Based Options for Education Policymaking, National Education Policy Center)