Education

More student diversity, less integration as school restarts

File photo: As the new school year begins, a look at the student population both across the country and in California reflects the country's growing diversity.
File photo: As the new school year begins, a look at the student population both across the country and in California reflects the country's growing diversity.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

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As over 50 million students nationwide head back for the new academic year, it's clear America is a-changing — and you only need to look in public schools to get a sense of how. 

The U.S. Department of Education projects kids this school year will be majority minority, meaning less than 50 percent of all pre-kindergarten through grade 12 will be white. 

The percentage of white students is expected to continue to decline at least through 2024 with increasing enrollments of Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and students of two or more races. 

But then consider this: despite 60 years of Supreme Court mandated desegregation in schools as established in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, a lack of classroom integration remains pervasive.

And California does not do well when it comes to mixing up children in class. 

A 2014 UCLA Civil Rights Project report found that California was the worst in the nation in the percentage of black students in majority white schools for the 2011-2012 school year and it ranked second worse among the states in the percentage of Latino children in majority white schools.

Measuring Latino students' exposure to white students, California also ranked the worse among the states, followed by Texas, New York and Mexico. “These Latino destination states thus are concentrating Latino students in schools that are overwhelmingly composed of other Latino and/or black students and away from white students,” the report states.