HOUSTON, TX – Long after segregation in public schools was abolished in 1954, it appears to be making a return. Experts say this time the reason is economic standing rather than racism.
“Go to the school systems and they are largely separated schools for Anglos and Asians on the one hand and for African-Americans and Latinos on the other,” explains Rice University School of Social Science Professor Stephen Klineberg. “Segregated by income but the result is segregation by ethnicity as well.”
Families that can afford it, move to areas with better schools causing a growing inequality leaving poor families with no choice but to send their kids to schools that end up looking segregated.
Also the schools with students from families with less money end up with fewer opportunities because the parent organizations, which often provide for many programs such as the arts and music, can’t afford it.
At Bellaire High School, students are well aware of the diversity.
Arjun Ramsunder said, “It’s sort of prominent but only because of exposure and not in terms of anything, people taking any action to make sure that happens. It’s just something that ends up happening because of where you live and who you associate with.”
“At the end of the day, it’s just the skin tone, so it’s really the same thing if it’s integrated or not to me,” according to Alexis Parra.
Bellaire High might be the anomaly, but concern is growing if things don’t change.
“If Houston’s African-American, Latino young people are unprepared to succeed in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century, it is hard to envision a prosperous future for Houston,” said Klineberg.
The answer – unfortunately no-one really knows. It may be time for more schooling on this one.