So much to cover! Things have been excitingly busy which means, in effect, doing the real work of keeping on top of things slides to the side a bit… (“What do you want for Mother’s Day, Mom?” kid asks. I reply “Time, child. Just a mere 5 extra hours in the day would be great. Or, the superpower to not require sleep. That’s all.” Walking away, kid responds “I’ll check ebay.”)
What I am about to inundate you with is a giant collection (immersion therapy!) of integration/segregation news. Though I understand that you are not likely to read/listen to it all, I do hope that this mountain will be encouraging… The conversations around this issue are happening. Not all with happy endings but they are happening. My secret mission here is to suggest that, you know, all the cool kids are talking about integration…
(AND! ICYMI, Peter Piazza is writing a great blog covering the news of segregation stories… Check out and subscribe to his work at https://sdnotebook.com!)
4/28/17 – By Kate Taylor – New York Times
The parent profiled in the article said “that most of all, they had wanted to find the school that was the best fit for their son. But she said she was also aware that decisions like theirs have an impact on whether schools thrive, or do not. In other words, the decision is more than just a personal one.”
But then, too (and with reported agonizing), the family picked the “better” school… Maybe the good in this here is that there IS agonizing?!
4/27/17 – By Ann Schimke – Chalkbeat
The district has made some efforts to increase integration, including the use of enrollment zones. Students living in such zones are guaranteed enrollment at one of several schools within the zone’s boundaries but not necessarily the one closest to their home. The idea is to pull students from a larger, more diverse area, thereby lessening the effects of highly segregated neighborhoods. So far, the zones have had mixed success.
5/1/17 – By Pamela Grundy – Charlotte Observer
A plea to parents from one who has walked the talk “Knitting a stronger community fabric that brings more residents together and spreads opportunity more evenly will require shifts in economic, housing and school assignment policies. It will also take personal commitment from economically and racially diverse groups of people who are willing to work steadily together on projects that directly benefit everyone involved, such as a neighborhood where they all live or a school that all their children attend.
As the school board’s reassignment proposal demonstrates, those of us living near the center city have the greatest opportunity to do that rewarding work.
Building a racially and economically integrated school can be a remarkable endeavor. A diverse group that works effectively together pushes everyone, helps everyone, and creates a tremendous sense of achievement..”
5/2/17 – By Roxanne Patel Shepelavy – The Philadelphia Citizen
A story of gentrification and equity and neighborhood schools and…. All that.
“This is about more than these two schools in this one South Philly neighborhood. It’s the story of what can happen when you get too much of what you’ve been asking for—increased parental involvement and commitment to neighborhood schools. Within that changing dynamic, it touches on hot button issues of race, class and gentrification—all the sticky points in any schools (or, indeed, city) conversation. And it reveals the cracks in an inequitable school system in which the jockeying for good seats produces winners and losers, even if just for the short term.”
5/2/17 – By Alexander Nazaryan – Newsweek
“The breaking away of school districts is a related phenomenon, one that has frustrated the work of integration by appealing to smaller local concerns over grander, public ones. More and more, parents see a school in the context of what it can achieve for their child: Education for all has lost out to Princeton for mine.”
“Proponents of separation in Northgate use exactly the same coded language as those in Gardendale. It is the language being used by secession-seeking districts like East Baton Rouge, in Louisiana, and Malibu, in California, which wants to leave the Santa Monica system. The latter fight is especially bizarre because it is taking place in one of the most privileged enclaves of Los Angeles. “Parents say they are eager to detach themselves from overly bureaucratic school administrations,” NBC News reported in late 2014 of Malibu’s efforts, which continue to this day, thousands of miles from the hills of Alabama but virtually identical in its social contours. “Others worry that their association with schools that serve at-risk students hurts property values.”
5/3/17 – Terry Gross interviews Richard Rothstein, author of the new book “The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America”
Rothstein on housing segregation “If we think [this] just happened de facto, then it’s very hard to think of what we can do about it. If we think that housing segregation happened because the federal government and local governments insisted upon it, as a matter of open, explicit policy, then we recognize that not only do we have an opportunity to do something about it but we also have a constitutional obligation to address the housing patterns that exist in this country and separate the races…. If there’s a violation of the 14th Amendment or the Fifth Amendment or the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and the badges of slavery – if there’s a violation of those constitutional provisions, there’s a constitutional obligation to remedy it, to reverse that violation.
And re: “costs” of integration, Rothstein says this “if African-Americans – low-income African-Americans are permitted to move into suburbs that now have a diverse stock of housing and that are more integrated both economically and by race, more money will have to be spent in schools, for example, to provide remedial help for children who may have grown up in much less advantaged neighborhoods than the neighborhoods that they’re moving into. That’s a price that will have to be paid.
And for African-Americans, integration has always had a price. When we desegregated schools in the South, we lost a whole generation of African-American teachers and principals because children began to attend white schools. So there’s no doubt that this is a costly effort, but the costs are far less than the costs of maintaining segregation. The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads to the kinds of police-youth confrontations that lead to deaths of young men, to riots in those neighborhoods. It leads to stagnant inequality because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile, when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent, than they otherwise would.
So the costs of integration are much less than the costs of maintaining our present system. And if we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate even if small prices have to be paid for it.”
5/5/17 – By Elizabeth Harris and Ford Fessenden – New York Times
The Broken Promises of Choice in New York City Schools: The city’s high school admissions process was supposed to give every student a real chance to attend a good school. But 14 years in, it has not delivered.
A long and disheartening read about high schools in NYC…
5/5/17 – By Lauren Camera – US News
When a judge ruled last week that the predominantly white Alabama city of Gardendale can secede from the majority black Jefferson County to form its own school district, the decision paved the way for the eighth such secession of wealthier and whiter municipalities in the state since 2000.
The judge’s ruling, which acknowledged that “race was a motivating factor” behind the effort despite its backers insistence they simply wanted more local control, garnered national attention because of a standing desegregation order the county has been under since 1965.
About a dozen similar secession attempts are currently underway in seven states, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is currently litigating about 100 of the roughly 300 open segregation cases in states across the country.
5/6/17 – By Stephanie Jimenez – The Guardian
My elite, segregated education changed me – but not in the way you’d think: Well-meaning people tell me I’m wrong when I say my success has largely been determined by circumstance. But I’m right: it was luck that brought me here
“As long as we continue to have separate schools for the rich and the poor, for white people and people of color, we will continue to have segregated work places, segregated neighborhoods, and ultimately, a divided country. We will continue to talk about difference in terms of “overcoming” it. As long as we continue to live in a segregated country, mainstream America will never be able to see that the biggest deficiency among communities of color is not merit or motivation, but real opportunity and justice.”
5/6/17 – By Sarah Becker – Montessori Public
and one of our own fighting the good fight (and asking the good questions) in the Montessori world. Way to put integration on the table, Sarah Becker!