The state with the most segregated public schools is New York.
Other states with exceptionally segregated schools include California, Illinois and Michigan.
These findings come from a longitudinal study of enrollment figures conducted by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles, The Associated Press reports. The period studied was 1998 through 2010.
New York, California, Illinois and Michigan are traditionally among the most reliably Democratic states in the union, as an interactive 2012 map created by Slate shows.
A 2013 “State of the States” feature by Gallup indicates that New York, California and Illinois are “solid Democratic” strongholds. Michigan leans Democratic.
Researchers determined the level of segregation by measuring the exposure of students at a school to students from racial groups different from their own.
In the entire state of New York, approximately half the public school students are white. However, during the 2009-2010 academic year, a typical black kid in the Empire State attended a school where just 17.7 percent of the students were white.
In Illinois, the exposure number for black kids was 18.8 percent. In California, it was 18.9 percent.
Similarly, about half of the public school students in New York state come from families defined as low-income, but in 2010 the average black student — and the average Latino student — went to a school where 70 percent of the students were low-income.
“In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation. No Southern state comes close to New York,” Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report, told the AP.
In fact, no Southern state is in the top four.
The study noted that charter schools in New York City are some of the worst offenders when it comes to segregation. There is less than one percent white enrollment at about three-quarters of the city’s charter schools.
A spokesman for the New York City Department of Education, Devon Puglia, would only respond to the findings with vague platitudes.
“We believe in diverse classrooms in which students interact and grow through personal relationships with those of different backgrounds, he told the AP.
The study also noted that black and Latino students tend to perform better academically when they attend public schools which are integrated in terms of both skin color and income levels.
“We’ve been talking about reforming schools in New York and elsewhere,” Pedro Noguera, a New York University education professor, lamented to the AP.
“When you concentrate the neediest kids together in under-resourced schools they tend not to do very well.”