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Continued School Segregation Demands Continual Fight, Scott Says
5/27/2015 12:55:57 PM

Dot Scott
By Barney Blakeney

Sixty-one years after the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Topeka, Kansas School Board which integrated public schools in the United States Charleston County schools largely remain segregated.

In fact, local schools never have been fully integrated.

Though the number of Black and white students attending county schools are about the same (about 20,000 Black students, about 21,000 white students and about 4,000 Hispanic students) where they go to school paints a vastly different picture.

There are some 80 schools in the district. While a few are racially diverse - some seven or eight schools - most are largely segregated. And just as racial segregation before Brown vs. Topeka resulted in inferior Black schools then, the same holds true today.

At the district’s lowest performing schools, Black student populations consistently is about 90 percent or higher. They include Mary Ford Elementary, North Charleston High, Burke High, Chicora Elementary, Edmund A. Burns Elementary, and Lincoln High.

Conversely at the district’s highest performing schools, white student populations also range around 90 percent or higher. They include the Academic Magnet High, Buist Academy, the Charleston County School of the Arts, East Cooper Montessori, Mount Pleasant Academy, Thomas C. Cario Elementary and Montessori Community School.

“We’re not where we started at in 1954,” said Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott, “But the situation then was so dire we’ve developed an illusion that all is well. Even at schools where there is diversity, there is segregation within the schools that is seen in the achievement gap between Black and white students at the same school.”

Charleston County School Board member Michael Miller said while the Supreme Court established the law regarding segregated schools, creative ways to circumvent that law have been developed. The way schools are allowed to function perpetuates segregation and contributes to the achievement gap between Black and white students, he said.

Charter schools and magnet schools are among the most obvious facilitators of segregation in public schools, he said. What has school choice done? Have they helped or hurt integration, he asked.

Scott said as those questions are pondered, the community has to mount a continual fight for integrated schools.

One of those fights is the complaint to the U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights filed last year to challenge alleged discrimination in admissions to Academic Magnet High by National Action Network’s Rev. Nelson Rivers.

“We didn’t get this far being quiet. If our children are not worth fighting for, what is?” says Scott. “Surely if we allow segregation to continue we will see things go back to where they were before Brown vs. Topeka.”

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