Separate and Unequal: The State of School Segregation
Sixty years after the U.S. Supreme Courtâs landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, related court ordered de-segregation cases across the country are often either forgotten or â in some communities -- being eroded by efforts to undo the ruling. In Columbus, de-segregation efforts have been largely undone by city annexations that have expanded the city but not the school district. That means that some Columbus residents attend suburban schools. Greg Jacobs, filmmaker and author of âGetting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools,â? said that the difficulties started with housing patterns. âOne of the issues with school desegregation, and I think one of the reasons why people aren't turning to it as a tool right now is that it's very hard to overcome a century of segregated housing patterns,â? Jacobs said. âI think, ultimately, because of the patterns of housing and because of the nature of segregated living in the city, the resources sort of drained slowly from the city schools. And I think that has made it much more difficult for the schools to sustain the kind of equality that is needed.â? In Baton Rouge, La., one group is collecting signatures for a ballot issue to secede part of the city for purposes of splitting the school district. The Baton Rouge story is part of a new FRONTLINE hour-long special on education, class and race in America 60 years afterÂ Brown v. Board of Education. FRONTLINE PresentsÂ Separate and UnequalÂ andÂ Omarina's Story tonight on WOSU at 10 p.m. FRONTLINE producer Mary Robertson said that proponents of the split in Baton Rouge say that they are dissatisfied with the quality of the education. âThe folks that are advocating for this new city believe that they need to take these efforts, they need to take these measures that some people characterize as extreme because the quality of the schools is just insufficient, inadequate and poor, â Robertson said. âThey haven't seen demonstrable change, even though this change has been promised.â? For more on the Baton Rouge story and the changes Columbus has faced in the years following desegregation, listen to the full hour of the show. Guests:
- Mary Robertson, producer and writer of FRONTLINE's Separate and Unequal and Omarina's Story
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, investigative reporter for ProPublica
- Greg Jacobs, filmmaker and author of Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools
- Erica Frankenberg, professor of education policy at Penn State, co-author of report Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future.