Are Students Pre-segregated Before High School? Are Students Pre-segregated Before High School?
Education

Are Students Pre-segregated Before High School?

by Nikhil Swaminathan

December 18, 2009
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is wrapping up a tour of state school systems around the country. A blog post on the Atlanta Journal Constitution website says that a big topic of discussion when the secretary visited Grady High School in midtown Atlanta was race.According to the students Duncan met with, Grady's student body, which is 67 percent African-American, is pre-segregated before a class ever matriculates to high school. A number of reasons cause this, starting with the fact that students come from elementary schools and middle schools in neighborhoods that are less diverse demographically than Grady is. These students form social groups as children that are often preserved into adolescence. Additionally, the grouping of students into merit-based tracks seems to exacerbate the issue.Apparently, the incidental separation continues into high school where Grady students who bring their own lunch (more often then not white, middle-class kids) are instructed to sit in one area of the cafeteria, whereas those who buy school lunches sit elsewhere. I am sure that system is in place to ease traffic flow, but it's hard to imagine someone didn't see the unintended consequences.Either way, I think these kids have a point-and it's not just because I'm from Atlanta. What do you think?Photo of Grady High School's Student Government Association via
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Are Students Pre-segregated Before High School?