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Gary Orfield
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Gary Orfield is a Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning at UCLA, where he joined the faculty in 2003. Professor Orfield’s scholarship focuses on the study of civil rights, education policy, urban policy, and minority opportunity. As a former Harvard University scholar, Orfield was co-founder and director of the Harvard Civil Rights Project and is now co-director of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA.

Orfield's central interest has been the development and implementation of social policy, with a focus on the impact of policy on equal opportunity for success in American society. His works includes six co-edited books since 2004 and numerous articles and reports.

Recent books include, Twenty-First Century Color Lines: Multiracial Change in Contemporary America. (edited with A. Grant-Thomas); Lessons In Integration: Realizing the Promise of Racial Diversity in America's Public Schools (with E. Frankenberg); Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis; School Resegregation: Must the South Turn Back? (with John Boger), and Higher Education and the Color Line (with Patricia Marin and Catherine Horn).

In addition to his scholarly work, Orfield has been involved in the development of governmental policy and served as expert witness in several dozen court cases related to his research, including the University of Michigan’s U.S. Supreme Court case, which upheld the policy of affirmative action in 2003. He has been called to give testimony in civil rights suits by the United States Department of Justice and many other civil rights, legal services, and educational organizations.

Professor Orfield was awarded the American Political Science Association's Charles Merriam Award for his contribution to the art of government through the application of social science research. He was also honored with the 2007 Social Justice in Education Award by the American Educational Research Association for “work that has had a profound impact on demonstrating the critical role of education research in supporting social justice.” He is a member of the National Academy of Education. A native Minnesotan, Orfield received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and travels extensively in Latin America.

Entries by Gary Orfield

Forging California's Destiny

(1) Comments | Posted April 16, 2014 | 6:26 PM

Southern California, one of the world's largest and most diverse urban areas, is rapidly becoming a region of profound economic inequality. The changing demography across this vast urban sprawl has led to sharp divisions in the population's educational, social and racial profile. A close look at immigration and fertility trends...

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The President's Speech and Dr. King

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 5:26 PM

President Obama had Martin Luther King's Bible but needs more of his vision. His speech offered a progressive vision but was silent on issues central for Dr. King. Forty-five years after the assassination of Martin Luther King we are a very long way from the promised land of racial equality...

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Open Letter To U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 2:41 PM

The Civil Rights Project commends the U.S. Department of Education for recent changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) and for 03/06/12 public release of the 2009-10 school year data. Recent changes include the collection of data on school discipline and referrals to law enforcement by schools, school-based arrests...

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Southern California's Broken Economic Ladder

(15) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 11:30 AM

Southern California is in serious decline and the future of the great world megalopolis that stretches from the northern reaches of metro Los Angeles through the large and rapidly growing communities to the south and across the Mexican border is under severe threat.

A much bleaker picture of joblessness...

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Magnet Schools Are an Important Option for LAUSD

(17) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 1:29 PM

The Los Angeles Unified School District, second biggest in the United States with some 700,000 students, located in the center of the most segregated area in the country for Latino students, is a place where students of color are very often denied any opportunity to do any meaningful preparation for...

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Tiny Tax Cut for Most Californians Equals a Huge, Hidden Tax on the State's College Students

(4) Comments | Posted August 24, 2011 | 6:39 PM

Critical decisions about California's economy and the future of its youth are in a downward spiral. In June, while legislators considered a budget with reduced revenue sources that would further hobble higher education in the state, the perception was that taxes were not being raised. But this is false: taxes...

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Segregated and Satisfied in the Southland?

(273) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 10:20 PM

Southern California is one of the world's most diverse, urbanized communities with people from every part of the globe, no racial majority, and a sense that it is way ahead of the rest of the country. Certainly it is in terms of a diversity of cultures, languages, music and cuisines,...

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Mexico's Narcos: A Crisis for Both Mexico and the U.S.

(37) Comments | Posted October 15, 2010 | 1:18 PM

I am living in the heart of Mexico City. Last night we had an elegant dinner in a restaurant overlooking the ruins of a great Aztec temple, the Cathedral, and the National Palace with all the lights of the bicentennial shining over the largest square in the hemisphere. There is...

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California's Charter Schools Earn a Failing Grade on Civil Rights

(26) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 5:06 PM

President Obama's education initiatives include major incentives for creating more charter schools. Policymakers at all levels of government are all currently touting charters as a big fix for our nation's troubled schools and California has made one of the deepest commitments to
charters. Before further expansion, however, Californians need...

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