New Study Shows the Suburbs at the Cutting Edge of Racial Diversity in America

Diverse suburban neighborhoods now outnumber their central city counterparts two to one. How will increasing (or decreasing) diversity change America's suburban stereotype?

America's suburbs over the last few decades have been shaking off their predominately middle-class white stereotype. These are among the findings contained in a new report issued by the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. In many cities, as reported by The Atlantic Cities' Myron Orfield, "suburban communities are now at the cutting edge of racial, ethnic and even political change in America," seeing large population shifts from predominately white to, increasingly, non-white.

What does this mean for America's suburbs? "Integrated suburbs represent some of the nation's greatest hopes and its gravest challenges," says Orfield, "...the rapid changes seen in suburban communities, suggests a degree of declining racial bias and at least the partial success of fair housing laws. Yet the fragile demographic stability in these newly integrated suburbs – as well as the rise of poor virtually non-white suburbs – presents serious challenges for local, state and federal governments." Increasing numbers of near-total non-white suburbs, for instance, can still face illegal discrimination. Often, these communities can face challenges more intractable than their central city cohorts.

As Orfield notes, "In America, integrated communities have a hard time staying integrated for extended periods." Thus, ensuring that America's newly diverse suburbs remain diverse, and don't reach a so-called "tipping" point towards resegregation, remains tricky. "[I]t does not happen by accident," states Orfield, "[i]t is the product of clear race-conscious strategies, hard work, and political collaboration among local governments."

Full Story: How the Suburbs Gave Birth to America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods



Mississauga, ON CA: 1%cluster high-ranked, diverse high schools

In March 2012, conservative think tank Fraser Institute identified Mississauga's 1%cluster of high-ranked secondary schools in its annual Fraser Institute Report Card of Ontario Secondary Schools.
• Link to map and background facts here:

Since 1996, Mississauga Ontario has more than doubled in population 713,433 (2011 census). More than 50% of residents were not born in Canada and some 90 languages are spoken throughout the City.

The success of the schools is not income-driven, it is location based and driven by community, not commercial, connections. Research shows that where parent engagement is the lead predictor of student success.

The high-ranked school catchments serve both vulnerable and privileged communities alike. Since 2008, all levels of schools have routinely self-selected to access microfund Parent Reaching Out grants from the Ontario Ministry of
Education to provide workshops so all parents can learn how to better support their students' education outcomes.

In March 2012, Peel District School Board's annual parent conference, "Literacy & Beyond" was attended by 1,300 parents representing 153,000 students. 1% of parents committeed 6 hours on a Saturday, to take in full hall lectures and information out of some 50 workshops.
• Local newspaper Brampton Guardian reported:

In July 2011, Minister of Education affirmed that where Parent Reaching Out grants place workshops in schools, upticks are seen to literacy and school success outcomes. The largest positive impact is seen in schools serving high-settlement, low-income neighbourhoods.

In Toronto, Canada 13 such areas of high-settlement and low-income were identified as "priority neighbourhoods". They are located in both urban and suburban settings within Toronto's boundaries. Tiered investments of support for public health, community development, education were made commencing in 2005.

In 2010-11, the year upon which the Fraser Institute 2012 Report Card data is based, 13 secondary schools located in Toronto's "priority neighbourhoods" are identified as dramatically "trending up", and breaking away from their historic 5yr rolling average of underperformance.
• The results are counter-indicated given the brunt of financial hardship suffered, by these communities in particular, since the 2008 global economic downturn.
• 2010-11 saw an unprecedented 80of112 schools in the Toronto District School Board - Model Schools for Inner Cities, access the Parent Reaching Out grants -- many for the first time. The Model Schools locate in the priority neighbourhoods, but do not comprise all of the schools located in the priority neighbourhoods.
• It was the blossoming of 2010-11 positive outcomes which prompted the Minister's affirmation of the work achieved by the grants.

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