A federal judge ruled that the Boston School Committee had deliberately segregated the city’s public schools by race. To remedy this constitutional violation, the judge ordered about 18,000 black and white students to take buses to schools outside of their neighborhoods. The backlash to this plan was swift: White parents threw bricks and stones as the buses arrived and refused to let their children board. The violent riots that later occurred led some reporters to describe the city as “a war zone.” The mayhem unleashed in Boston would serve as a cautionary tale for advocates of any sort of mandatory school integration plan.
That was in the summer of 1974. Since then, several studieshave suggested that integrating schools by race and income is one of the most effective ways to boost student achievement. A 2010 meta-analysis of 59 different studies found that students of all races and income levels are more likely to have higher math outcomes when they attend racially and socioeconomically diverse schools. The researchers concluded that the academic benefits of diverse schools are “consistent and unambiguous.” There is, in fact, a large body of evidence suggesting that diverse schools benefit not only low-income students, but also their middle- and upper-class peers. Other research has found that pre-kindergarten students who are part of socioeconomically diverse classrooms are likely to learn more, particularly in the areas of receptive and expressive language and math. And a separate study of elementary school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, found that children in public housing who were assigned to attend low-poverty schools were able to cut the achievement gap between themselves and their more affluent peers in half by the end of elementary school.
[For more of this story, written by Aaron Lowenberg, go to https://psmag.com/is-school-in...e4ca53465#.p29ehj4t0]