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Charlotte Talks: Segregation In Charlotte Education

West Charlotte High School
Lisa Worf

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are as segregated as they were before the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.  As racism increasingly rears its ugly head nationwide, we meet four educators tackling racism head on.

To achieve racial equity across its schools, a report from the N.C. Justice Center's Education & Law Project calculates that Charlotte-Mecklenburg would need to reassign 55% of its students. It declares Charlotte’s school system "by far the most racially segregated district in the state." 

Charlotte was once a model for school integration – in 1971 the Supreme Court ruled in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education the district must use student assignment and busing to integrate its schools. In 1974, West Charlotte High School hosted students from Boston to show how integration could be done peacefully and for the benefit of all students.

Since Capacchione v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in 1999, however, Charlotte has become tragically resegregated.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg School report Breaking the Link ties together the connections of education, race and class succinctly: “If you are born poor in Charlotte, you are likely to stay that way.”

Today we speak to Charlotte professors, teachers and administrators to confront these issues head on and consider the solutions.

Credit Jennifer Worsham/WFAE
Tracey Benson, Janeen Bryant, Erlene Lyde and Frank Barnes


Tracey Benson, assistant professor of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and author of "Unconscious Bias in Schools: A Developmental Approach to Exploring Race and Racism."

Janeen Bryant, director of operations at CREED (Center for Racial Equity in Education)

Erlene Lyde, former president of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators, teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for over 18 years

Frank Barneschief equity officer of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.