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New York City fifth-graders enter PS321, a public elementary school in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on April 1, 2011. / File photo by Mark Lennihan, AP

New York's public schools are the most racially segregated in the nation, according to a recent report.

The state has the highest concentration of black and Latino students in schools with less than 10% white enrollment, according to the report released Wednesday by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

The report, which looked at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010, also found that black and Latino students go to schools with a higher ratio of poor students compared with the statewide average.

"It's double segregation by both race and poverty," said the study's co-author, Gary Orfield, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.

Orfield added that poverty and school performance have "an extremely powerful relationship."

Nationwide, New York, Illinois and Michigan are consistently at the top of the list for the most segregated public schools, with California and New Jersey not far behind, said Orfield, who is co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an education professor at UCLA.

During the civil rights era, the debate over segregation was about blacks and whites; now it includes the influx of Latinos and the decrease in whites, Orfield said.

But school diversity policies have not reflected the populations, the report says.

"It's worse than Brown v. Board of Education in the 1950s," said William Cala, interim superintendent of schools in Fairport, N.Y., in an interview with the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y.

Orfield said one possible solution in New York is to offer parents more school choice, something that could work well because of the public transportation system.

The study also suggests that housing and school segregation are highly correlated and recommends that new low-income housing be built in areas with strong schools.

The Civil Rights Project plans to release a nationwide look at school segregation on May 17, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. The landmark Supreme Court case ruled segregation at public schools is unconstitutional.

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Report: New York has most segregated public schools in USA

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