School Resegregation: A Crisis Facing North Carolina’s Public Education System

Last week was the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. But now it’s 2023 and some politicians and corporate profiteers are trying to resegregate our schools. 

This threat of school resegregation was extensively discussed during the HEAL NC Statewide Call on October 26 as participants talked about the existing conditions, outcomes and possible solutions.  Esteemed education scholars Dr. Jason Giersch from UNC Charlotte and Dr. Chantal Hailey from the University of Texas at Austin participated in this discussion, moderated by Dr. Ronda Taylor Bullock from we are.  However, those of us who aren’t necessarily scholars but simply poor and working class parents experience these issues firsthand everyday. 

A concerning resegregation trend along racial and socioeconomic lines is appearing in schools nationwide, including here in North Carolina. School resegregation disproportionately impacts working-class and poor people of all races. Increased segregation often leads to an uneven allocation of resources and opportunities, intensifying the challenges faced by poor families.

As articulated by Dr. Chantal Hailey, when our schools are racial segregated, our children are affected. Consequently, Black students attending classes with white students typically have access to more resources. This is a glaring testimony to the racial inequities permeating our school systems, which only reinforce the problem of resegregation.

To have honest and quality education for all our children, we need to acknowledge and dismantle racial biases within our schools. A balanced, inclusive, and equitable education system requires continual interrogation and resistance to such deep-rooted biases. We must strive for racial integration within schools consistently.

Parents, teachers, and public school advocates must demand that policymakers look at the problem of resegregation holistically. Instead of culture war politics that single out some children, we need real policies that encourage diversity and integration in schools, such as regulations related to school zoning and affirmative action policies. These policies uplift all our children and make schools better for everyone, regardless of a student’s class or race.  

Resegregation perpetuates a cycle of inequality, with schools in poor areas struggling to secure experienced teachers, offer advanced courses, or provide necessary resources like technology and extracurricular activities. This discrepancy in educational opportunities exacerbates the opportunity gap, hindering academic success and employment prospects for our children.

HEAL Together NC champions critical public school issues like resegregation. This statewide coalition works collaboratively to counter threats to North Carolina public schools and fights to not just support our schools, but make them even better. Heal Together NC brings together parents, grandparents, students, teachers, and public school advocates, to create a political force to defend our kids and their schools. 

Effectively addressing the school resegregation crisis necessitates collaborative efforts, continuous learning, and decisive actions geared towards building a fair, inclusive educational system. In fact, it requires all of us. After all, every child, irrespective of their race or socioeconomic status, deserves a quality education. Upholding this right is a responsibility we all share.

The next HEAL Together monthly call is set for Thursday, November 16, from 7:00-8:30 pm online. Anyone interested in engaging with crucial issues such as school resegregation is encouraged to participate. Public school parents, educators, students, and community supporters are all invited – we all have something to contribute, we all have something to share.

You can watch the entire conversation from October 26 here: