School segregation is getting worse in Virginia, not better. And one driving factor is segregation within school districts. Those are the findings of a new report out Wednesday from researchers at VCU.
Statewide, school segregation is most severe between white and Black students in central Virginia. Schools in Northern Virginia and Tidewater are moderately segregated, as measured by researchers at VCU. And although it’s not as bad, the state’s rural schools are also segregated.
One of the report’s authors, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, says the driving force is not only the lines between districts -- but also the school zoning within districts.
“Segregation within school divisions -- so within Henrico, within Chesterfield, within Richmond -- accounts for more than half of all school segregation,” explains Siegel-Hawley.
The newly released report calls on state leaders to advocate more boldly for school integration, including establishing an office within the Department of Education dedicated to the issue.
Policy issues they could work on, suggests Siegel-Hawley include defining segregation, measuring it, and to “start measuring it, to require annual reporting about it and then to help districts think about different strategies they could use to mitigate it.”
Researchers say they’ve shared their findings with state policymakers.
The full report is available here.