The City That (Didn’t) Make It Work: An Analysis Of State-Sponsored Resegregation In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah Rose Aldridge (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Brandy Bryson

Abstract: A 1984 editorial published in the Charlotte Observer proclaimed that Charlotte’s “proudest achievement is its fully integrated school system…one of the nation’s finest, recognized throughout the United States for quality innovation, and most of all, for overcoming the most difficult challenge American public education has ever faced” (Mickelson, Smith, & Hawn Nelson, 2015a, p. 2). However, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system (CMS) has become largely resegregated; in 2015, more than half of the students of color in Charlotte-Mecklenburg attended hypersegregated schools (Helms, 2015). This thesis aims to examine the resegregation of public education in Charlotte, and focuses on understanding the social, political, and economic causes of resegregation. Using Bonilla-Silva’s (2001) theory of “new racism” as a frame of analysis and reviews of existing literature, this thesis examines the ways that decisions made by elected officials and government bodies work to uphold existing systems of racial inequity and guarantee disadvantages for students of color in the American public education system by directly or indirectly isolating students of color into segregated schools. As a result of these decisions at the local, state, and national level, Charlotte’s public schools have transitioned from a national example of desegregation to a highly segregated, inequitable school system.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Aldridge, S. (2017). The City That (Didn’t) Make It Work: An Analysis Of State-Sponsored Resegregation In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
Education, institutional racism, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Educational equity, School segregation

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