Cover Story

Soon after the forced integration of schools in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1965, social forces and self-segregation again separated students on the basis of race, reported psychologist Anne Galletta, PhD, an assistant professor at Kent State University, Stark Campus, at the 2004 Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Biennial Convention. The schools, perhaps unintentionally, funneled white students into newly established honors and college preparatory classes, while placing African-American students in "regular" level courses, she said.

During interviews with 20 current students and alumnae of Shaker Heights high schools, as well as their parents and teachers, Galletta found that the few black students placed in advanced level courses often dropped out, perhaps due to unfair treatment by their teachers or their peers' questioning the legitimacy of the black students' advanced placement, she noted.

Internal segregation, says Galletta, reduces parental concerns about weakened academic standards as a result of racial integration--historically a source of anxiety among white and, more recently, middle-class black parents. Academic tracking keeps the children of affluent parents, and their money, in the public school system, she said.

"The conscious and unconscious grouping of students is absorbed by the youth," said Galletta. "These narratives show that as the moral community expanded, it established newly constituted barriers."