Computer scientists have developed tools that can separate schools – and make buses smaller

One in six white school children in the United States – about four million white students – attend 90 percent or more of the white school, according to the most recent federal data for 2019. Similar segments of Hispanic children, a total of two million students, attend all or almost all Hispanic schools. This level of racial segregation is slightly less common among black children. One in eight black children or about one million go to school that is 90 percent or more black.

Both black and Hispanic children are enrolled in the same school but there are almost no white students among them. Two out of every five black and Hispanic students – about nine million children – go to school where less than 10 percent of the students are white. One in five Asian American students – about 500,000 – go to such schools with very little or no white students.

This information gives an extreme outline of racial segregation in American schools. Many children learn differently because their families live in different school zones. In many cases, such as in Providence, RI, where less than 10 percent of public school students are white, there are not enough white children to spread around the city to create more racial balance in the classroom. Meanwhile, East Greenwich, RI has its own school district in a predominantly white suburb – beyond the control of Providence School officials.

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