This year marks seventy years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case where a unanimous court overruled the doctrine of “separate but equal” and called for the end of legalized racial segregation in public schools. Since then, the country has undertaken, in fits and starts, Brown’s mandate to desegregate schools.

While Brown ended legal segregation of schools, American schools are still highly unequal and separated by race and class. Since the high point of school integration in the 1980s, school segregation has risen, despite Brown and more recent efforts by advocates and policymakers to focus on equity. This reality, however, is not a force of nature but rather a political decision by national, state, and local governments that school integration is too politically perilous.

The numbers say otherwise. In new polling from The Century Foundation and Morning Consult, a majority of Americans—three in five—say that racial and income-based segregation is an issue still plaguing our public schools. Furthermore, most Americans (53 percent) support increasing government funding for communities aiming to diversity their local public schools. Our new polling finds that:

  • Adults under age 35, parents, Black adults, and Democrats—a critical coalition for President Biden’s re-election—are more likely than others to perceive segregation in U.S. public schools.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all parents consider diversity of their children’s school to be an important consideration in choosing where to raise their children, with almost half (48 percent) saying it is “very important.”
  • These findings echo a 2021 poll by The Century Foundation and Topos Partnership, which found that eight in ten people think it is important to have racially and economically diverse public schools.

Our polling makes it clear: seventy years after Brown, Americans want our leaders to continue the work of integrating our schools and providing more opportunities for all of our children, no matter their race, income, or zip code.