May 20, 2024


Technological development

Computer scientists create tool that can desegregate schools – and shorten bus routes


One out of every six white school children in the United States – nearly four million white students  –  attend schools that are 90 percent or more white, according to the most recent federal data from 2019. A similar share of Hispanic children, totaling two million students, attend schools that are all or nearly all Hispanic. This degree of racial isolation is slightly less common among Black children. One out of eight Black children or almost one million attend schools that are 90 percent or more Black. 

More common are schools filled with both Black and Hispanic children learning together but with almost no white students among them. Two out of every five Black and Hispanic students – almost nine million children – attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of the students are white. One out of five Asian American students – roughly 500,000 – attend schools like this with very few or no white students. 

These data outline the extremes of racial segregation in American schools. The reason that so many children learn separately is that their families reside in different school zones. In many cases, such as in Providence, R.I., where fewer than 10 percent of public school students are white, there aren’t enough white children to spread around the city to create more racial balance in classrooms. Meanwhile, the predominantly white suburb of East Greenwich, R.I., has its own school district – beyond the control of Providence school officials.


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