Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Urban/Suburban Educational Divide: Racial Inequities and Shifting Landscapes

May 19, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Schools in urban and suburban locations can vary immensely in quality, increasing the importance of where we send our kids to school. But why are some schools better than others? How has America’s notion of a good school deepened educational and racial inequities? Join the Boston University Initiative on Cities (IOC) and the BU Wheelock Educational Policy Center (WEPC) for a discussion of efforts to ensure students have access to a great education, and why integration efforts to close the urban-suburban divide leave some students caught in between, while others are stuck on one side.


  • John Rury, Professor Emeritus, University of Kansas School of Education and Human Sciences; and author of Creating the Suburban School Advantage: Race, Localism, and Inequality in an American Metropolis
  • Milly Arbaje-Thomas, President & CEO, Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO)
  • Cliff Chuang, Senior Associate Commissioner for Educational Options at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Interested in some additional context and relevant policymaking happening right now around this topic? Below is an excerpt from an April 2021 Boston Globe Editorial Board call to action.

In Massachusetts, we tend to think of school segregation as something that happened 50 years ago in Boston — if we think of it at all.

But racial segregation is still a serious problem in this state. And by some measures, it’s getting worse. In the last decade alone, the number of “intensely segregated” nonwhite schools — that is, schools with student populations that are at least 90 percent students of color — has grown by more than one-third, according to research from the Beyond Test Scores Project and the Center for Education and Civil Rights.

And while Boston hosts plenty of these racially isolated schools, they’ve also become fixtures in old industrial cities like Lynn, Lawrence, Chelsea, Brockton, and Springfield.

Decades of research show the costs of segregation are enormous. Academic performance suffers. Adult earnings, too. And students of all races miss out on vital opportunities to prepare for life in an increasingly multicultural society. 

But responsibility for desegregation does not lie with urban school systems alone……


May 19, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm