With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide a case involving the Fair Housing Act, Meghan Kelley, ’14, explored segregation’s impact on education in an op-ed essay in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Jan. 28.
Kelley and co-author Jennifer R. Clarke said the outcome of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. the Inclusive Communities Project will affect more than the question of whether housing discrimination is illegal when there isn’t proof it was intentional.
“The significance of the disparate-impact standard and what its loss would mean for equal housing rights across the county is no doubt important to recognize,” they wrote. “What's also crucial to understand is the fact that housing segregation doesn't just affect where minorities can live. One of the other ways it has affected communities across the country, especially in Philadelphia, is through the segregation of our schools.”
Kelley and Clarke cite a Brown University study that showed Philadelphia schools have some of the nation’s widest achievement gaps between students at elementary schools in white neighborhoods compared with peers in black or Hispanic neighborhoods. Closing low-performing schools won’t narrow a gap that results from segregation, the study authors found.
Kelley is a public service fellow at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, which Clark directs.