Journalism in the Public Interest

A National Survey of School Desegregation Orders

Across the United States, some school districts are bound by orders to increase the racial integration of black and Latino students and improve their educational opportunities. Some of the orders are mandated by federal courts. Others resulted from voluntary agreements between school districts or other educational institutions and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Over the last 15 years, many orders have been lifted. This has left many communities uncertain of whether orders still exist and hobbled efforts to ensure they are being followed. The map and tables below are the most comprehensive record of these orders, including never-before-released data on ongoing voluntary desegregation agreements from the Department of Education. Related Story: School Segregation, the Continuing Tragedy of Ferguson »

Number of Districts with Currently Open Desegregation Orders

Click on a state to see how many school districts are under orders there.
Back to
national total
How to use this data: If a district is under a voluntary order with the Department of Education, you can request a copy of the order from the agency. If a district is under a court order, those records can sometimes be obtained from the school district itself or from the federal courts, though the recording keeping on court-ordered desegregation is in considerable disarray. ProPublica has also compiled a limited number of these records.
Voluntary Orders
Voluntary Desegregation Orders
Court Orders
Court Desegregation Orders

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice, Stanford University, ProPublica research.
Note: Based on data received from the U.S. Department of Education and may not include open agreements entered into prior to 1996. Some school districts may appear multiple times because they are under more than one order.

* This school district is defunct as of the 2011-2012 school year due to merger or closure.
Correction (6/1/2016): An earlier version of this database incorrectly listed the Weldon City Schools district in North Carolina as having been subject to a desegregation order.