A Look at Current School Desegregation Orders in the United States

propublicaProPublica, a New York-based independent, non-profit news operation that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, has compiled a national listing of current school desegregation orders. According to ProPublica, “across the United States, some school districts are bound by orders to increase the racial integration of black and Latino students and improve their educational opportunities. Some of the orders are mandated by federal courts. Others resulted from voluntary agreements between school districts or other educational institutions and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.”

In 1969, 73 school districts were placed under court desegregation orders, the most in any calendar year. Since 1978, no more than two school districts were placed under court order in any single year. However, voluntary desegregation orders have been agreed to by many districts. These voluntary orders skyrocketed after President Obama took office, peaking in 2013 with 85 school districts agreeing to desegregation orders. Prior to 2009, the most voluntary agreements in any one year was 10.

The ProPublica data shows that Mississippi continues to have more open desegregation orders with 61 school districts under court order or voluntary agreement with the Department of Education. Alabama is second with 54 active orders. Georgia ranks third with 48 open orders.

While the vast majority of the open desegregation orders are in the South, California, New York, Connecticut, and Arizona all have at least 15 open desegregation orders.

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