Five case-studies of mid-sized Northeastern communities—Dayton, Hartford, Rochester, Trenton, and Wilmington—are used to examine and analyze school desegregation experiences. Qualities likely to encourage the peaceful achievement of racial balance are described. The study concludes that parents are most concerned about safety, educational quality, and their ability to exert influence over their children's schooling.
This study describes and analyzes how five communities in the northeastern United States have addressed the subject of desegregation. Dayton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; Rochester, New York; Trenton, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware share the experience of having increasingly large, poor minority populations surrounded by mostly white, generally affluent suburbs. All five are similar mid-sized urban communities which have been consistently or intermittently involved with school desegregation.
Historic and demographic issues, legal considerations, political, administrative, and community responsibility are explored by Stave as factors in the achievement of racial balance. Scores of interviews augment legal decisions and public documents. Stave finds that rapidly shifting populations make projections somewhat risky; however, respecting certain widely held concerns will make desegregation more likely. Parents seek a safe environment for their children and want to have a say in where their children are educated. Committed and charismatic leadership, extensive community participation, the availability of enhanced educational components to guarantee a high quality of education, cooperative city-state relations, and a metropolitan region large enough to discourage white flight are qualities likely to encourage the achievement of racial balance. An important reading for public officials and scholars involved with education policy, and urban and minority affairs.