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Sat Aug 30, 2014, 02:11 PM

by Robert Reich

In a few days, a higher portion of America’s black children will begin school in classrooms without any white children than before the Supreme Court’s historic “Brown v. Board of Education” decision. The reason isn’t official segregation by race but unofficial residential segregation by income. Since poor kids are disproportionately black and brown, and America’s poor now live in vast geographic concentrations of poverty, their schoolmates are also likely to be black and brown. And due to the concentration of poverty, the local tax bases whose revenues supply those schools with 40% of their funding are shrinking -- with the result that they’ll start school in overcrowded classrooms with inexperienced teachers and inadequate materials. As the Warren court unanimously held in 1954, separate is not equal. It still isn’t.

A shooting in Ferguson, Mo. triggers a national discussion about police and race. Important as that is, we're not talking about the even more fundamental outrage of schools and race. Why?


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