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"Socioeconomic School Integration - A Response,"

by S. M. Miller November/December 2001 issue of Poverty & Race

After reading Kahlenberg and Orfield., my reaction is: you are both right!

1-Clearly, school racial integration is being undercut by judicial decisions. The likelihood seems to be that it will largely disappear. It hasn’t worked very effectively, as shown in Gary Orfield’s data on segregation increasing in recent years. We can’t go on as before.

2-Class integration has a nice ring to it, but can it work? Residential segregation is high as Orfield points out. Won’t busing and other devices be needed to bring about class integration in schools?

3-What is needed are new legal, political and/or organizational innovations to promote integration. Of course. But what might they be? Human Rights? Segregation (and low-quality schools) as deprivation of property? New ways of organizing schools?

4-And how to improve schools with high racial-ethnic populations that are not integrated while pushing to integrate within schools.

5-Kahlenberg has the virtue of facing the issue of declining pressure for school racial integration. His solution would be most difficult. I am not aware---my ignorance?---of steps toward racial integration that seem to have judicial, political and organizational possibilities.

S. M. Miller is member of PRRAC’s Board of Directors.


S.M. Miller (, a PRRAC Board member, is a Fellow at The Commonwealth Institute in Cambridge, MA, where he directs the Project on Inequality & Poverty, and is Research Prof. of Sociology at Boston College.


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