Demography and Desegregation in the Cleveland Public Schools: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Educational Failure and Success


Integration of public schools has largely become a discredited goal. Instead of providing a better education for poor minority students, its critics contend that integration efforts have destroyed public school systems and the economic base of the cities in which they are located. Desegregation plans induce “white flight” and decrease political support for public school funding. These critics point to the dismal condition of the large urban districts that were subject to court ordered desegregation rulings as evidence for their arguments. One of the prime exhibits is the foundering school district encompassing the city of Cleveland. Far from being a solution to chronically low test scores and the state’s highest dropout rate, Judge Frank Battisti’s controversial desegregation order in Reed v. Rhodes is routinely fingered as a primary cause of the city’s dramatic population loss4 and the collapse of the public schools.

Suggested Reading