Sixty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court said that education “is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms,” setting the Columbus City Schools on a collision course with desegregation. Over the six decades since the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Columbus has seen students go from being steered into segregated schools, to being bused to racially balanced schools, to being back in neighborhood schools that are as racially isolated as the areas they serve.
Today, a form of school never envisioned at the time of the Brown ruling is serving more than 14,000 Columbus students who choose to ride buses to some of the most segregated schools in the city: charter schools. Almost 7 in 10 of these charter students are black.
More charter students than Columbus City Schools students now attend schools with black enrollments of 90 percent or higher. During the desegregation lawsuit, such schools were described in court proceedings as “one-race black schools.”