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Report: Michigan schools second-most segregated in the nation

Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia
Michigan Radio
A charter advocacy group gives Michigan's charter law a passing grade.

A new analysis has found that Michigan's schools are extremely segregated.

Jennifer Chambers and Christine MacDonald with the Detroit News report that the Associated Press analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics enrollment data from the 2014-2015 school year.

The AP found that a large number of African-American students are enrolled in schools which are largely segregated, especially in Michigan, where 40% of black students are in public schools that are in "extreme racial isolation."

That puts Michigan in second-place nationwide, tied with Mississippi and behind only Washington, D.C., which came in at 66%.
According to the News,

Research has shown high levels of segregation correspond with low achievement, including the Associated Press analysis that found highly segregated schools on average had fewer students reaching state standards for proficiency in reading and math.

One major factor was charter schools, which are much more segregated than traditional public schools on average. In Michigan, 64% of black charter students are in schools in which the student bodies are more than 90% black.
But Dan Quisenberry, the president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies, says the report is misleading. 
"The lack of diversity is a reflection of where people are living," he says. "It has nothing to do with charter schools or traditional public schools."
Quisenberry acknowledges that charter schools are more segregated, but that the ultimate objective is providing that best educational opportunity for students.
“The goal of greater diversity is certainly there. We’ve got work to do. But it’s a matter of where people live, and a lot of economic and social issues that are beyond charter schools.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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