Key Coverage

Within Integrated Schools, De Facto Segregation Persists

They were classmates and best friends, and they both wanted to get into the 11th-grade Advanced Placement English class at Columbia’s Hammond High School.

Since meeting in summer school just before ninth grade, Mikey Peterson and Eli Sauerwalt had been through a lot together. They’d each battled depression, they’d failed classes, they’d encouraged each other to do better.

As 10th-graders in English, the teens were each hoping for a prized recommendation to the AP English class for their junior year.

Eli had doubts about whether AP English was for him. His attendance had been poor, and he had barely passed some assignments. But for the teacher, he said, it was never even a question.

You can do this, he recalled her saying. This is what you should do.