Over the Omaha Metro

Minority enrollment and economic disadvantage across the city

The following map illustrates the location of eight Omaha metro high schools and the corresponding minority enrollment and economic disadvantage for each. MN falls into the middle for both measures; however, our racial and economic makeup is neither common nor an anomaly. 

Extensive segregation becomes clear when looking at racial makeup. Schools farther west have lower minority enrollment and economic disadvantage; note that the two measures do not necessarily have a causal relationship. Conversely, schools in the east, particularly the northeast, enroll large Black populations, while southeast schools enroll large Hispanic populations. 

Efforts to bus students from across the Omaha metro through open enrollment, thereby increasing socioeconomic diversity throughout, have been made in recent years. However, as free transportation was removed a few years ago, it is clear that these initiatives are waning. 

Associate Professor of the College of Education at UNO Dr. William Austin notes that these busing efforts are historically ineffective. “I’m not a proponent of busing. I’m a proponent of neighborhood schools. I’m also a proponent of people living where they want and living where they can afford,” Austin said. “I think emphasis should be placed on the quality of education, which should be equitable across the board. For example, you should have quality teachers in every school, regardless of where it’s at.”

See below for a history of the Douglas and Sarpy County Learning Community and its efforts to provide said quality education. 

Molly Murch