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As School Segregation Persists, VCU Professor Explores Solutions

Siegel Hawley
Siegel Hawley

More than 60 years following the Supreme Court’s Brown versus Board of Education decision, schools remain segregated. According to the Government Accountability Office, the number of schools that were “high poverty and comprised of mostly Black or Hispanic students” grew from about 7,000 in 2000-01 to more than 15,000 in 2013-14.

VCU Professor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley has spent years researching this topic. She found that in 2010, more than one in three black students in the Richmond-Petersburg area went to intensely segregated minority schools, that’s where 90-100% of the population comes from under-represented minority backgrounds. The same year, nearly 14% of Latino students attended intensely segregated schools, a figure that more than tripled since 1989.

Siegel-Hawley also studied Southern metro areas where city-suburban cooperation saw increased integration. These issues, including the link between housing and school desegregation and what educational regionalism might look like, are explored in-depth in her new book When the Fences Come Down, 21st Century Lessons from Metropolitan School Desegregation. She spoke with 88.9 WCVE’s Catherine Komp for Learning Curve.