U of L Grawemeyer Prize Winner’s Research Shows Racial Integration Has Worked for Black Students – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

A researcher whose recent work shows positive impacts of racial integration in American schools has won the prestigious Grawemeyer Prize from the University of Louisville.

Rucker Johnson, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, used data from longitudinal studies of thousands of students dating back to the 1960s to examine the impact of racial integration in schools, including those in Louisville. He found that black students who attended integrated schools saw many gains in education and quality of life compared to students who stayed in segregated, predominantly black schools.

His discoveries are explained in his book 2019 “The children of the dream: why school integration works”.

Rucker’s research shows that integration in the 1970s and 1980s led black students to have higher graduation rates, better access to college, higher incomes, higher incarceration rates. weaker and even better health outcomes.

“By the late 1980s, black college attendance rates had reached the same levels as white college attendance rates at that time,” Rucker said. “It’s that time when we see the greatest racial convergence not only in educational attainment, but in income and health – the kind of narrowing disparities in health.”

Rucker’s research also showed that the more time black students spent in integrated schools, the better their results.

There is a big caveat, however, that mainstreaming only leads to better results if it also increases black students’ access to resources.

“Before desegregation, a lot of district-level spending was disproportionately allocated to majority white schools,” Rucker said.

The integration gave poor black students access to the same resources as white children, and their results improved, Rucker said.

“Much of the impacts we see for African Americans go through increased access to educational resources,” he said. “When integration efforts haven’t led to significant changes in access to school resources, we don’t see the same value for money.

Meanwhile, the integration had no impact on the educational attainment of white students. However, this had social impacts. White students who attended integrated schools had fewer racial prejudices, more diverse friendships, and more progressive political views as adults, Rucker said.

“This is a really important part of thinking about the full scope by which integration can transform communities in ways that go beyond simple test results,” he said.

Johnson said he has been concerned about the re-segregation of schools since the peak of integration in 1988. Since then, federal judges have become more conservative and less likely to enforce integration with court orders.

Schools today are just as racially segregated as they were in 1968, according to a study from the University of California Civil Rights Project.

Jefferson County Public Schools, although they have long been seen as a poster for upholding racial integration, are also become more segregated. A new student assignment proposal would likely worsen this segregation, but supporters say the current design unfairly forces black students out of their neighborhoods.

The Rucker’s Grawemeyer Prize in Education is accompanied by a prize of $ 100,000. The prize is awarded annually to honor outstanding ideas in the fields of education, music, religion, political science and psychology.

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