Denver schools have resegregated sharply since the end in 1995 of court-ordered busing to integrate students, according to study by The Civil Rights Project at Harvard University.
Denver Public Schools' student population is 57 percent Latino, 20 percent white and 19 percent black, says the study, commissioned by the Piton Foundation in Denver. But individual schools don't hold to those demographics.
The average Latino student attends a school that is 71 percent Latino. And in a district that is one-fifth white, more than one-third of white students attend schools where they are in the majority.
In 1995, 14 percent of white students attended schools where they were in the majority. Within two years, the number doubled – 31 percent of white students were attending schools where white students were the majority.
In 1973, Denver became the first northern city ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to desegregate after a lawsuit alleged that schools in the Park Hill neighborhood were intentionally segregated to separate white students from minorities.
The challenge is to draw middle-class families into the public school system," said Alan Gottlieb, education program officer for the Piton Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to improving education in Denver. Several schools in the district have high percentages of students on free and reduced-price lunch programs and are heavily minority, yet the surrounding neighborhoods are "getting more gentrified all the time," he said.