UNC Center for Civil Rights Inclusion Project Report Examines School Segregation and Educational Equity in Duplin County

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In its new Inclusion Project report, the UNC Center for Civil Rights examines direct community-based, education advocacy in Duplin County. The Inclusion Project seeks to provide communities, advocates, funders, and policy makers with an understanding of the challenges facing excluded communities. The project began in 2013 with the release of “The State of Exclusion” report, and includes a series of county profiles analyzing the continuing impacts of the legacy of racial segregation.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights’ newest county profile highlights repeated and continuing decisions by Duplin County Schools (DCS) regarding school locations, feeder patterns, grade alignments, and attendance area boundaries that have foreseeably produced racially isolated schools, reflecting historic and deeply entrenched patterns of residential racial segregation. This report is the first installment of a three-part series on education, environmental justice and civic engagement in Duplin County. In the series, CCR aims to present the data along with an historical perspective to show how the struggles for education equity, environmental justice, and equal access to political representation overlap and inform each other.
Since students are resources to each other, segregated learning environments deprive all students of invaluable opportunities to engage with peers from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, and ill-prepares them to live and work in our increasingly diverse society. While Duplin County is faced with high student poverty and low standardized testing results districtwide, there are significant disparities among DCS’s four attendance areas. In 2016, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) identified eight DCS schools as low-performing. Seven of the eight low-performing schools are in the predominantly non-white Kenan and Wallace-Rose Hill areas. Those schools, predictably, suffer from inferior facilities, fewer experienced teachers, higher teacher turnover rates, and lower student achievement.
The need to renovate, update, or replace many of the schools in DCS has been a nearly 40-year discussion, riddled with decisions that resulted in new facilities for schools serving more white students, while leaving students in the majority non-white schools waiting for new facilities. For decades, the school board has received recommendations from the DPI, and from numerous parents and community advocates on both the need and the means to address the inequities facing students of DCS. However, at each decision point, the school board not only rejected critical positive steps, but made deliberate and often costly choices that have aggravated disparities and made change even more difficult.
These disparities, combined with declining overall enrollment and growing numbers of Latino and Limited English Proficiency students, urgently require the school board to change its course and adopt forward looking policies that will improve educational outcomes for all students. Community advocates must continue to work together to hold the school board accountable on demands for racial inclusion and educational equity. 
For more information please contact Mark Dorosin at 919-445-0174 / dorosin@email.unc.edu, or Elizabeth Haddix at 919-445-0176 / emhaddix@unc.edu.

Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. August 16, 2017 4:16 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation
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