Separate and Unequal: A look at enduring and increasing segregation in Chicago public schools

Over six decades ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." And yet, after the minimal efforts of the 70s, most school districts were released from court supervision in the early 1990s and today, the proportion of black students at majority-white schools is the lowest its ever been since 1968.

Integration is the one school improvement strategy that has shown to cut the achievement gap between minority students and white students in half. Research has shown "consistently and unambiguously" that students in integrated schools have better test scores and higher college attendance rates. And yet education advocates seem to be always seeking out alternatives that either don't work or deepen segregation by race and socioeconomic status.

As one of the most segregated cities in the country, Chicago has a long history with this issue. In the early 1900s, black families began to move to Chicago, and by the 1930s, three quarters of the city was banned from selling property to them. This was the beginning of many practices that perpetuated racial separation. Years later, after white flight to the suburbs and the migration of minorities to the city, Chicago's main racial groups, black, hispanic, and white each make up one third of the population.

33% white

29% black

32% hispanic

White families that stayed in the city tend to send their kids to private or parochial schools, further decreasing opportunities for integration. Currently the Chicago Public School system is 9% white, 40% black and 46% hispanic.

9% white

40% black

46% hispanic