TALLAHASSEE — Although Florida is becoming a more racially diverse state, its public school system is becoming more segregated, a new study from the LeRoy Collins Institute shows.
“Student enrollment trends in Florida over the past decades show growing racial isolation for Hispanic and black students on some measures, with signs of continuous segregation on others,” the study said.
Some 32 percent of Hispanic students and 35 percent of black students in Florida attend “intensely segregated” schools, defined as have a nonwhite student body of 90 percent or greater, according to the study.
One out of every five schools was intensely segregated in the 2014-15 academic year, about double the 10.6 percent of the schools that fell into that category in 1994-95.
The more heavily segregated schools had more poor students. In schools with at least a 50 percent nonwhite school body, low-income students represented 68 percent of the population. Low-income students represented 82.5 percent of the population in the schools with a 90 percent or greater nonwhite student body.
“Florida is the third-largest state in the country and has the most diverse student body in our state’s history, yet one-fifth of our public schools are intensely segregated,” said Carol Weissert, a Florida State University political scientist who leads the Collins Institute. “Similar segregation is evident for low-income students. All Floridians deserve equal access to a quality education, regardless of race or economic standing.”
– Tampa Bay Times