Recently the New York Times ran a story about “Deepening School Segregation,” based on the latest iteration of research from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project. Similar articles in recent years include The Atlantic’sSchools Are More Segregated Today than During the Late 1960s,” “Segregation worse in schools 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education” from the Seattle Times, and “Segregation Worsening in U.S. Schools” from USA Today.

Such headlines understandably generate outrage. But they are also largely at odds with a competing body of rigorous research on the topic that finds that segregation has been relatively flat, or even declined, over the past few decades.

At the root of the discrepancy is an issue of measurement. If you look closely, you can probably spot

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