Generally pursued through the guise of local control, secession efforts further cement school segregation along racial and socioeconomic lines and often exacerbate inequalities between low- and high-income schools, the report found. After decades of increased integration following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, research has pointed to growth in segregation in recent years, both racially and socioeconomically.
“What’s amazing is that it’s intentional discrimination in 2017,” said Monique Lin-Luse, an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who represents Black plaintiffs in the Gardendale case. “This isn’t about something from long ago in the past — these are state actors, today, who are seeking to secede and to do so on a racial basis.”
In its analysis, EdBuild found 30 states with laws that allow communities to secede from their school districts. Yet only six states require policymakers to consider how the move would affect racial and socioeconomic demographics in the district, and only nine states require a study of the financial impacts of splitting communities. Of states with laws allowing secession, approval processes differ: Some require a majority vote among neighborhood members, while legislative approval is necessary in others.
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