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K-12 Education

We are committed to generating and synthesizing research on key civil rights and equal opportunity policies that have been neglected or overlooked.

Well before the passing of the "Leave No Child Behind" Act of 2002, which renewed the nation's interest in K-12 education, The Civil Rights Project had been focused on critical issues affecting this country's elementary and secondary students. CRP believes that equal educational opportunity is a necessary prerequisite to equal educational outcomes. Further, CRP believes that all students benefit from ethnically diverse educational experiences. For the past several years, a main focus of our research has been to demonstrate concrete educational benefits derived from attending diverse elementary and secondary schools. Research in the area of K-12 Education has been extensive with the hopes of having a broad impact nation-wide.

Our current research interests related to K-12 education include:


Recent K-12 Research


Research Item Data Proposals Threaten Education and Civil Rights Accountability
The U.S. Department of Education has proposed sweeping changes in the way we count minority and white students in our schools, changes that would dramatically alter the reported enrollment by race and ethnicity in our states and in many of our educational institutions. The changes are partly in response to a need recognized in the 2000 Census to collect information on students who are biracial or multiracial in their background. However, the Department of Education has proposed changes that are very different from the Census changes and would make it extremely difficult, and sometimes impossible, to conduct meaningful research or monitor civil rights compliance and educational accountability for students by race and ethnicity. The guidelines published August 7, 2006 in the Federal Register, specifythe changes by which schools, colleges, and state governments will collect and report individual-level data and aggregate data on race and ethnicity.
Research Item Private School Racial Enrollments and Segregation
Though religious schools are not now under any desegregation requirements from courts and this report does not assess blame for the patterns reported, private school educators do have freedom to provide leadership in this area, and could well consider the techniques used by public magnet schools and secular private institutions. Moreover, private schools may well be held publicly accountable should they become publicly funded through voucher systems.
Research Item Tracking Achievement Gaps and Assessing the Impact of NCLB on the Gaps
This report concludes that neither a significant rise in achievement, nor closure of the racial achievement gap is being achieved. Small early gains in math have reverted to the preexisting pattern. If that is true, all the pressure and sanctions have, so far, been in vain or even counterproductive. The federal government is providing $412 million a year to help pay for part of the additional testing required by the law and many states claim that they are being forced to divert state funds to testing and other provisions they believe are unnecessary.
Research Item The End of Keyes—Resegregation Trends and Achievement in Denver Public Schools
In its 1973 Keyes decision, the Supreme Court delivered an opinion that dramatically shaped the future of both the Denver public schools and the country’s legal consideration of school desegregation. In essence, Keyes afforded Hispanics in the Southwest the same kinds of rights to desegregation remedies as Black students had previously gained through other court decisions. For Denver, these decisions meant a directive to desegregate the District’s schools. More than two decades later, the courts revisited Keyes, this time to a different end. In 1995, Judge Richard P. Matsch, who had presided over court supervision of Denver’s desegregation plan, declared that “the vestiges of past discrimination by the defendants have been eliminated to the extent practicable” (“Court oversight,” 1995), and, with his decree, ended mandated desegregation in the Denver Public Schools.
Research Item The Unraveling of No Child Left Behind
A fundamental problem with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) as reauthorization approaches is that what once seemed a clear if highly controversial policy has now become a set of bargains and treaties with various states.
Research Item Racial Transformation and the Changing Nature of Segregation
This report is about the changing patterns of segregation in American public schools through the 2003-2004 school year. We begin by examining the transformation of racial composition in the nation’s schools, the dynamic patterns of segregation and desegregation of all racial groups in regions, states, and districts by using data from 1968 until 2003-4. We examine both the changes over the last decade (1991-2003) as well as those over a much longer period (1954-2003). Data from this report are computed from the Common Core of Data of the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education for the years 1988, 1991, and 2003.
Research Item Denver Public Schools: Resegregation, Latino Style
The goal of this report (the first of two) is to examine the broader demographic and segregation patters of the district within the context of the 1973 Keyes case. We provide general trends that tell an important story in their own right and build a foundation for school-level analyses that will be presented in a subsequent report for the Piton Foundation.
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