Understanding Contemporary Segregation in Austin Independent School District

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2023-04

Authors

Del Valle, Angelica

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Abstract

This thesis investigates racial segregation and isolation across Austin Independent School District (AISD) campuses in order to evaluate their impact on Austin’s youth. It begins with defining the importance of integrated schools for the development of culturally-conscious adults and inclusive communities. Next, the thesis will highlight the historical educational inequities impacting Austin’s Black and Hispanic populations through an in-depth account of Austin’s desegregation history since the Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case which prohibited racially segregated schools, Brown v. Board of Education (1954). Through the evaluation of selected case-study schools and district-wide data, the thesis will then assess how academic achievement and other school data are correlated with campus or district racial demographics. This will help readers understand the disparities that exist across campuses in relationship to school racial and economic populations. It will also examine AISD’s most recent equity and inclusion plans and policies meant to address inequities and racial separations in the district. This thesis acknowledges the role of residential segregation in school zoning and student demographics, another issue which Austin leadership should aim to solve. Nonetheless, this thesis concludes that it is essential for the development of students and for the growing Austin community to safeguard and create diverse learning environments for Austin’s youth. Overall, this thesis is meant to give the reader a holistic understanding of the current state of AISD with respect to its historical–and continuing–racial separation and isolation across campuses and in the city as a whole. Although this thesis does not attempt to fully solve this issue, it does bring awareness to areas of improvement, and hopefully this can be a helpful reference for policymakers, district leadership, or inquiring community members and parents.

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