Civil Rights Organization ERASE Racism Releases Report on Growing School Segregation on Long Island

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Civil rights organization ERASE Racism just released a study on education equity on Long Island that shows increasing levels of school segregation and growing educational disparities between white students and students of color.

racial equity

With 125 school districts on Long Island, the intense fragmentation helps to perpetuate racial segregation, as well as disparities in resources.

There are many benefits to having a racially diverse learning environment. However, these benefits cannot be fully realized unless we put systems in place that will support an increasingly diverse student body and integrated schools and classrooms.

On January 23, 2015 civil rights organization ERASE Racism released a study that revealed increasing levels of school segregation on Long Island. The report “Heading in the Wrong Direction: Growing School Segregation on Long Island” shows that despite an increase in racial diversity on Long Island between 2000 and 2010 the region still remains one of the most racially segregated metropolitan regions in the country, ranking tenth in terms of the highest levels of segregation between blacks and whites. The report charts levels of segregation between 1980 and 2010 and concludes that the level of segregation between whites and blacks has decreased over time but still remains extremely high. Additionally, the two fastest growing racial groups on Long Island—Hispanics and Asians—have actually become more segregated from whites as their populations have increased. While there are large income differences between racial groups, the report cites data provided by Brown University sociologist John Logan, which show that the high levels of racial segregation on Long Island cannot be explained by income disparities alone. According to 2005-2009 American Community Survey data, different racial groups experience the same level of exposure to whites, regardless of their household income.

The study demonstrates that the persistence of racial and economic segregation on Long Island is responsible for the persistence of school segregation, which has actually intensified throughout the past two decades. Mirroring the neighborhood trends, the report shows that school segregation for black students on Long Island has remained extremely high from 1989 to 2011, and segregation for Latino and Asian students has increased. With 125 school districts on Long Island (56 in Nassau and 69 in Suffolk), the intense fragmentation helps to perpetuate racial segregation, as well as disparities in resources. According to 2009-2010 NY State School Report Cards, the vast majority of Long Island students attend low need and average need school districts that have low levels of poverty and are well-resourced; however there are extremely large racial and ethnic differences between who is attending low and average need school districts and who is attending high need school districts with large levels of poverty and scarce resources. The report shows that ninety one percent of all students in high need districts are black or Latino.

The report states that continuing extreme segregation for black students and rising segregation for Latino and Asian students are causes for great concern. “There are many benefits to having a racially diverse learning environment. However, these benefits cannot be fully realized unless we put systems in place that will support an increasingly diverse student body and integrated schools and classrooms,” said Elaine Gross, President of ERASE Racism. The report concludes with suggested strategies to create more racial integration at the school and neighborhood level.

On January 23, 2015 ERASE Racism hosted an Education Equity Forum to present the findings of the report. The forum brought together school administrators and education advocates to explore tightening school budgets and other structural changes that could be detrimental to the quality of public education on Long Island. The Long Island Index also released the findings of their report on education equity on Long Island called “Still Separate & Not Getting More Equal: The Persistence of Economic and Racial Inequalities in Education on Long Island.”

The ERASE Racism study is available at http://www.eraseracismny.org. The Long Island Index study is available at http://www.longislandindex.org.

About ERASE Racism: ERASE Racism (http://www.eraseracismny.org) is a regional organization that leads public policy advocacy campaigns and related programmatic initiatives, community organizing, and legal action to promote racial equity in areas such as housing, public school education and public health. It engages in a variety of research, education and consulting activities to identify and address institutional and structural racism, especially on Long Island.

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Elaine Gross
ERASE Racism
+1 516-921-4863 Ext: 14
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