Brown fades: The end of court-ordered school desegregation and the resegregation of American public schools

Authors: 
Sean F. Reardon, Elena Grewal, Demetra Kalogrides, Erica Greenberg
Publication: 
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
Publication year: 
Forthcoming

In this paper we investigate whether the school desegregation produced by court-ordered desegregation plans persists when school districts are released from court oversight. Over 200 medium-sized and large districts were released from desegregation court orders from 1991-2008. We find that racial school segregation in these districts increased gradually following release from court order, relative to the trends in segregation in districts remaining under court order. These increases are more pronounced in the South, in elementary grades, and in districts where pre-release school segregation levels were low. These results suggest that court-ordered desegregation plans are effective in reducing racial school segregation, but that their effects fade over time in the absence of continued court oversight.