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School Resegregation Said Rising Slightly in South

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Washington--While the overall level of integration experienced by black students in public schools has remained relatively stable for several years, there are signs that resegregation has been occurring in some Southern states, a new report concludes.

The South continues to have the most integrated schools in the nation, said Gary Orfield, a prominent desegregation expert and co-author of the report released last week. But demographic shifts and the dismantling of court-ordered desegregation in a few cities have caused measures of segregation in the region to rise slightly, he noted at a press conference here.

Mr. Orfield's study also found that Hispanic students have become more segregated than4blacks on some measures, continuing a trend that the University of Chicago scholar's research has revealed in the past.

The new report, which was commissioned by the National School Boards Association's Council of Urban Boards of Education, includes data through 1986, but the findings are generally the same as those included in Mr. Orfield's earlier studies of desegregation by state, region, and metropolitan area. (See Education Week, Nov. 26, 1986, and Aug. 3, 1988.)

The report's findings point to a need for increased federal support for local school-desegregation efforts as well as a new effort to reduce segregated housing patterns, argued James R. Oglesby, a school-board member from Co8lumbia, Mo., and president-elect of the nsba

But a Justice Department official present at the press conference immediately disputed the findings, charging that they were "loaded with inaccuracies."

Because Mr. Orfield based his findings on information collected by the Education Department's office for civil rights, they do not include the experiences of students living in the large number of school districts that are not surveyed, said J. Michael Ross, a social-science analyst for the Justice Department.

Mr. Orfield agreed that more complete data could change his findings slightly, but said that the broader findings were supported by his research in areas where full data are available.--ws

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