From desegregation to resegregation : a case study of African American parent understandings

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Soria, Hope Michele

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The history and challenges regarding segregation, desegregation, and resegregation remain tangible and threatening to public schools today. Public support has shifted away from the gains made during the 1960s-80s through civil rights action and litigation and public policies now reflect a more laissez faire position toward racial and cultural interaction. The political movement of “dismantling desegregation” has been well documented by researchers (Steinberg, 1995; Orfield, 1996; Eaton & Orfield, 1996; Caldas & Bankston, 1998; Orfield & Yun, 1999; Peoples, 2001; Zhou, 2003; Eckes, 2004). But what can be added to the existing body of work is a greater understanding of the voices of those most directly effected by the current trends to resegregate. This study addresses the following questions: How do members of marginalized African American communities understand resegregation and how it will affect their children in public schools? In particular, how do African American parents respond to the educational shifts impacting their children? For the purposes of this qualitative case study, African American parents with school age children are the primary informants. Each participant volunteer responses to a series of interviews relating to educational issues concerning desegregation and resegregation, school quality, student and faculty ethnicity, and racism. Through the use of interviews arranged into four case studies and other data sources (school district records, state statistics, and newspaper articles), a clearer understanding of a marginalized community in a segregated, desegregated, and resegregated African American community is presented. The study offers an analysis of statistical data and a brief summary of case study themes. Six comprehensive findings are examined in the last chapter. Two implications conclude the study.



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