Determining the Implications of Resegregation in the Atlanta Public School System and its Affect on Student Achievement
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Despite experiencing a fairly calm period of racial integration, Atlanta’s inner-city region is one of the most racially segregated metropolitan areas in the nation. This division spans all components of Atlanta’s culture, including, most importantly, the Atlanta Public School System (APS). Children in Atlanta are neither learning within a racially diverse atmosphere nor receiving a quality, well-rounded education to properly prepare them for life’s challenges. The development of the APS between 1950-1980 was characterized by distinct periods of segregation, desegregation, attempted integration, White flight, and resegregation. It is through this process that the demographics of the system made a complete 180-degree turn, going from a majority White system in the early 1950s to an almost 100% Black system in the early 1990s. The continual sense of under-achievement, repeated poor rates of student retention, and an overall lack of quality classroom experiences within the majority Black APS all contribute to an unequal distribution of opportunity and support across the metro-Atlanta region since most majority White suburban districts bordering the city of Atlanta have the resources that the APS lacks, for example, generous funding, high parent involvement, engaged students, and a highly-qualified teachers. Ultimately, this unequal distribution contributes to the achievement gap, which is broadly defined as the gross disparity between average standardized test scores of White students and Black students. This paper focuses on the long-term effects of desegregation and resegregation, showing how Atlanta’s unique racial history molded its educational system into a state of desperation. Atlanta’s development as an emerging metropolitan region set the stage for a complicated, up-hill battle to create a uniform, diverse educational system that produces high-achieving graduates and promotes life-long learning.