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Black Alabama students continue to face disproportionate access to education in state school districts

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A 2020 study by the Century Foundation found that 43 school districts or charter schools in Alabama outperformed 772 school districts or charter schools nationwide that are subject to some form of legal desegregation order or voluntary agreement. is one of Her TCF Fellow Michelle Barris, a co-author of the study, said it was even more concerning that nearly 40 percent of her black and Latinx students still attended “extremely segregated” schools. said. Federal desegregation case monitoring system.

For example, in Anniston, research found that “about 90% of its public schools are black, while the overall community is loosely divided between black and white residents.” Although he was under a desegregation order dating back to 1963, Aniston said, “the school district’s policy manual has no discernible plan for desegregation or integration, and the community’s schools continue to offer high-level human resources.” We are doing species isolation.”

Aniston officials have indicated they are unwilling to seek unitary status under the desegregation order.Further action from the district.

“I think we’re still talking about desegregation. brown vs board In 1954,” says Burris. “The Supreme Court ruling said school districts must abolish racism and remove traces of racism. We see resource segregation, curriculum segregation, and in 2022 we are still fighting this battle.”

Barris also pointed to ongoing housing segregation as a particularly significant barrier, adding that other attempts at desegregation have actually exacerbated the problem. when black faculty and administrators are fired for

“We need to look back at the implementation of brown vs board Find out where the problem occurred,” suggested Burris. “This is not the consolidation the Supreme Court wanted, nor is it the consolidation that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted. So we are reexamining housing policies and the causes of segregation to carefully eliminate any trace of them. need to do it.”

The Chambers County lawsuit is one of at least five lawsuits filed on behalf of Anthony T. Lee and other Macon County students. brown vs boardThe law firm of Tuskegee-based civil rights attorney Fred Gray, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Joe Biden on July 1, has continued to represent the plaintiff.

Company representatives did not respond to a request for comment on Chambers County’s desegregation plan.

In 1963, in response to state and local government stumbling blocks and active thwarting of desegregation, Gray called for local school boards, state agencies, and elected officials to In the process, black students were harassed and threatened, and white students and their parents burned down their schools to prevent them from being integrated into the school. rice field.

But Gray eventually secured an order to consolidate not only all colleges under the state board of education, but most Alabama public schools not yet subject to separate court orders. They included Troy University, University of West Alabama, University of North Alabama, and Jacksonville State University. Gray’s order also consolidated African-American and white athletic associations, desegregated all colleges and universities, and protected the rights of existing teachers.

“[These cases] Gray said in 2013: to do what they should. ”

In LaFayette, Smith believes the Chambers County lawsuit has been largely out of indifference for more than half a century.

“I think people were reluctant to do it, to be honest,” he said. “But lately, the biggest thing has been the leadership we’ve shown and the buy-in we’ve had from the community. increase.”

At recent conferences and publications, Chambers County school officials heavily touted the desegregation plan as an opportunity to modernize facilities and educational opportunities. It points out that the situation of the three primary schools was often described as “deplorable.”

Smith said Chambers County will monitor the outcome of the agreement. is introduced.

“I think this lawsuit will eventually address some of these issues,” he said. “In a perfect world, schools in historic neighborhoods would need to remain open, but they would also need to manage funding well and ensure that all students had access to equal opportunities and resources. Therefore, we believe this is the best way to comply with federal obligations and also provides the best opportunity for students who have been disenfranchised for decades. I think it will play an important role in our approach.”

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