In the following sections we highlight some of the most powerful cross-case themes to emerge from our study. These themes illustrate the distance between the intent behind school desegregation policy, to vindicate Fourteenth Amendment rights for African-Americans and other minority groups, and the actual results these policies achieved. In all of the six school districts we studied, powerful whites were able to maintain their privileged status even in the context of an equity-minded reform movement such as school desegregation. In each of the six communities and schools in our study, policy makers and educators tried to make desegregation as palatable as possible for middle-class white parents and students. On a political level, this made perfect sense. The idea was to stave off white and middle-class flight, which would leave the public schools politically and economically vulnerable. In concentrating on appeasing white parents, however, school districts often disregarded the needs of both students of color and poor students.

Across the school districts studied, we saw the disillusionment of African-American and Latino advocates, educators, and students as they gave up on a "remedy" they once thought would solve many educational problems for students of color. While they acknowledged many gains that resulted from efforts to desegregate public schools and create more diversity within these educational institutions, they voiced clear disappointment about how little progress had been made overall and the price that communities of color had to pay to accommodate the demands and threats of whites.

We realize that some of our findings are not "new" to the literature on school desegregation. For instance, other authors have highlighted many of the shortcomings of desegregation policy that we address. We, however, are attempting to add a new sense of"dual consciousness" to the discussion. In other words, we think it is important to celebrate the accomplishments of Brown and the role that public schools and the courts have played in trying to right the wrongs of racial inequality in our society, while being very clear about just how inadequate school desegregation policy--as an isolated policy affecting but one of many racially unequal institutions in our society--was in overcoming the legacy of white privilege.

This is not to absolve the schools and educators of all wrongdoing--rather, we are simply examining them within the broader social context in which they were enmeshed and rethinking future policy proposals in light of how desegregation proceeded after Brown. As one Latino former school board member in Austin, Texas, explained to us, desegregation amounted to "societal problems . . . being dumped on the children."