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Diversity in the Distance: The Onset of Racial Change in Northern New England Schools

  • Author(s): Ayscue, Jennifer B.
  • Jau, Shoshee
  • Flaxman, Greg
  • Kucsera, John
  • Siegel-­‐Hawley, Genevieve
  • et al.
Abstract

Northern New England, comprised of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, has the opportunity to plan carefully and intentionally so that the region is not plagued by problems of segregation and can instead benefit from the impending racial change and increased diversity to create and sustain diverse learning environments. There are no serious problems with segregation in northern New England yet, and those problems that do exist are modest and localized. Therefore, now is the optimal time for the region to reflect on what has occurred in southern New England and the rest of the United States, which were once as racially homogenous as northern New England but have since become more multiracial and more segregated. As northern New England is relatively early in the process of racial change, there are no significant responses to it yet. Without policies to harness racial change to create positive and successful diverse learning environments, segregation is likely to increase. In addition to the importance of planning for the future, children who are currently growing up in northern New England will need skills to navigate the rest of society, which is much more diverse, and should begin learning how to do so now. Thus, a close examination of these three states’ educational histories and their patterns of demographic change in schools, along with policy recommendations, is essential to planning for a successful future for an increasingly diverse northern New England. Northern New England, comprised of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, has the opportunity to plan carefully and intentionally so that the region is not plagued by problems of segregation and can instead benefit from the impending racial change and increased diversity to create and sustain diverse learning environments. There are no serious problems with segregation in northern New England yet, and those problems that do exist are modest and localized. Therefore, now is the optimal time for the region to reflect on what has occurred in southern New England and the rest of the United States, which were once as racially homogenous as northern New England but have since become more multiracial and more segregated. As northern New England is relatively early in the process of racial change, there are no significant responses to it yet. Without policies to harness racial change to create positive and successful diverse learning environments, segregation is likely to increase. In addition to the importance of planning for the future, children who are currently growing up in northern New England will need skills to navigate the rest of society, which is much more diverse, and should begin learning how to do so now. Thus, a close examination of these three states’ educational histories and their patterns of demographic change in schools, along with policy recommendations, is essential to planning for a successful future for an increasingly diverse northern New England.

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