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Resegregation in the American South
April 17, 2014 8:37 AM   Subscribe

The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law."

Here's the full text of the article without the fancy interface. It can also be viewed at The Atlantic.

* The Timeline: From Brown vs. Board of Education to 'Segregation Now'

* Share Your Six Words on Race and Education. A collaboration with The Race Card Project, which was highlighted previously on MeFi.

* Short Documentary Film by Maisie Crow, Saving Central: Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School. Alternate link at The Atlantic

* A Note to Our Readers on ‘Segregation Now’

Previously on MeFi: Schools resegregate after being freed from judicial oversight, Stanford study shows:
"The lifting of court-ordered school integration efforts over the last 22 years has led to the gradual unraveling of a key legacy of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. After being freed from judicial oversight, hundreds of large and medium-sized school districts in the South have steadily resegregated, slowly moving away from the ideal of black and white children attending school together.

That's the finding of a study by researchers from the Stanford University School of Education, which was just published in the fall [2012] issue of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. It reports that nearly half of the almost 500 school districts that were under court order to desegregate as of 1990 have been released from judicial oversight during the last two decades, resulting in a slow but steady resegregation, as compared with districts where judicial oversight continues."
posted by zarq (90 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Segregation Now article:
Freed from court oversight, Tuscaloosa’s schools have seemed to move backwards in time. The citywide integrated high school is gone, replaced by three smaller schools. Central retains the name of the old powerhouse, but nothing more. A struggling school serving the city’s poorest part of town, it is 99 percent black. D’Leisha, an honors student since middle school, has only marginal college prospects. Predominantly white neighborhoods adjacent to Central have been gerrymandered into the attendance zones of other, whiter schools.
Gerrymandering, is there anything it can't fix?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:49 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


What does "marginal college prospects" mean?

If she's an honors student, along with her other accomplishments - mayor's youth council, track and field champion- it seems like she'd be fine for college.

I thought someone with marginal college prospects would be someone with a low gpa and few/no extra curricular activities.

Can someone help me understand how this article is using the phrase?
posted by McSockerson The Great at 8:59 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Getting into A college is no longer an issue, but getting into a good school in your field of interest, with scholarship money, is a lot harder if you attend a school that does not offer the same breadth of courses as schools with better funding do. If your family is in a very bad position financially, you may have a hard time qualifying for sufficient student loans to get to a decent school even if one accepts you, because certain borrowers are not credit-worthy for PLUS loans. And that's all provided that your guidance office actually helps direct you towards the courses and information you need to actually apply to schools effectively, which is in no way a given at the sort of high schools that struggle just to stay open. Nothing is made impossible this way, but a lot of things that ought to be sure things for smart kids who work hard are not that sure anymore.
posted by Sequence at 9:05 AM on April 17 [12 favorites]


If you read to the end of the article, it says that she has a low ACT score. She comments that when she went to an ACT-prep program with kids from the white school, the kids from the white school had simply learned a lot more prior to the test. You can be a smart, hard-working kid, but if no one teaches you at least some geometry or grammar or calculus or logic problems or whatever is on the ACT (I am an Old, so I forget), you just aren't going to score that well. I was a straight-A student in high school, for instance, and my poor fool of a chemistry teacher sent me to take some kind of special fancy chemistry competition exam (not the AP, this was in sophomore year)...where I knew the answer to quite literally one question out of a hundred, because absolutely none of it was stuff we'd covered in class and though I am quite bright, my independent study has always been history and literature.
posted by Frowner at 9:06 AM on April 17 [21 favorites]


I just don't know how we're going to get past slavery and Jim Crow in this country except by the passage of another four or five centuries, either. You just end up with all this entrenched bullshit that poisons every aspect of our collective life.
posted by Frowner at 9:10 AM on April 17 [17 favorites]


Thank you sequence and frowner.

I get it now.

I've heard about the cultural bias on standardized tests but hadn't really thought about just not having the courses offered in your high school needed to be adequately prepared for the SAT or ACT.

And yet again I realize how little I really understand the full effect of stuff like this. I just assumed everyone had alg, pre calc, and trig before they got to the SATs. I thought when there was talk of schools cutting things it was "just" art and gym.

Man, this makes me really sad.
posted by McSockerson The Great at 9:15 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


There's some really interesting stuff here:
Under the court order, England said, black students had ridden buses all over the city chasing an ever-receding white population. Desegregation had not ended the stigmatization of black children, England said. It had reinforced it.
They don't talk about it a lot in the article, but it seems a reasonable question: is it even possible to have completely desegregated schools, given white flight? The vast majority of white, middle class parents do not want to send their children to black, low-income schools, and will either move or send their kids to private school rather than do so. And moving out deprives the area of their tax base, making the schools even worse. We could argue about whether it's race or income that motivates their decision-making, but the effect is still the same.
posted by corb at 9:16 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


if you've ever been to Tuscaloosa, the white people live on one side of town in faded ranch-style homes and the black people live on the other... in shacks (with a 100K person football stadium and attached university in between). How could you possibly integrate the schools?
posted by ennui.bz at 9:16 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


How could you possibly integrate the schools?

By court order and with court oversight. They used to be less segregated. Then oversight ended. Now they are more segregated.
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on April 17 [18 favorites]



They don't talk about it a lot in the article, but it seems a reasonable question: is it even possible to have completely desegregated schools, given white flight?


I have to wonder about this too. I work with a bunch of early thirty somethings, just getting into the whole family nest parenting thing, buying a house, etc. Dual incomes, good money. And the talk of finding neighborhoods with "good schools" is pervasive. Over and over the phrase is said "good schools". I don't think they are conciously racist, but it's these individual choices compounded together that cause things like this.

And what else would you expect them to do? Not try to get a good education for their kids? The racial disparity fuels the inequality of the schools, which drives more people out, which fuels the racial disparity.
posted by zabuni at 9:28 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


As the author said in her interview on NPR this morning, a lot of this isn't stuff that "just happens." People make it happen. They - we - make decisions and institute policies where this is the end result. When we pretend, collectively, that segregation and educational disparities are just some kind of force of nature that just "happen," we are actively deluding ourselves.
posted by rtha at 9:31 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


As a maybe not counterpoint, but another point here, New York has the most segregated schools in the country.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:33 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Over and over the phrase is said "good schools". I don't think they are conciously racist, but it's these individual choices compounded together that cause things like this.

Yeah, "good schools" and a fear of living in the presence of "crime" strike me, more and more, as concepts that not-consciously-racist, well-intentioned people use in their thinking about where to live, and that thinking perpetuates a de facto race-based segregation without anybody having to wear the white sheets or set fire to anything. I'm coming around on a phrase I picked up somewhere, "racism without racists," which kind of captures what I think is going on.

A friend of mine (and sometime mefite) has occasionally written on this. He and I have both lived in the same "bad" neighborhood in Hartford and found it eminently pleasant and not at all scary.
posted by gauche at 9:38 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]


They don't talk about it a lot in the article, but it seems a reasonable question: is it even possible to have completely desegregated schools, given white flight?

Well, we know already that it's possible, because previous efforts were successful, schools were much more integrated. And schools should be integrated. All parents should have the interests of their children and those of a broad and representative cross-section of other peoples' children intertwined. That's the only way to ensure that children aren't funneled into poverty from childhood with the school funding mechanism we now have.
posted by clockzero at 9:41 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


They don't talk about it a lot in the article, but it seems a reasonable question: is it even possible to have completely desegregated schools, given white flight?

Well, we know already that it's possible, because previous efforts were successful, schools were much more integrated.


It was not particularly successful in Boston.
posted by Melismata at 9:43 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Well, for example: I'm not white. I have a kid that I send to Catholic school. I don't send her to the local middle school, not because it's largely black and Hispanic, but because I don't want her to have to learn about metal detectors and strip searches this early in her life. I tried to get permission to send her to the good schools further away, but they denied me. And it's kind of really expensive, and I sweat about how to scrape to do it. And so I think, "Man, it'd be great if I lived somewhere where she could go to a good school, that I wasn't spending all of our discretionary income on getting her a moderately decent education."

I mean, yes, you could say that since I'm not white the decision I make doesn't really matter, but it's essentially the same decision, because the places I've been looking at, the places that both have good schools and that I can afford, are majority white and Hispanic, with the average income somewhere around ours, and less than 5% of families below the poverty line. And if we move there, we will be taking all of our income out of the area.

But what are my better options? What is the solution?
posted by corb at 9:44 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


A friend of mine (and sometime mefite) has occasionally written on this.

Oh, this is hitting the right notes:

In other words, today’s middle class twenty- and thirty-somethings are marvelous cheerleaders for diversity and the new urbanism until they confront the prospect of their kid being the only one in the classroom with college-educated parents, or the only white one. Suddenly, people say “schools” and “crime” and without further deliberation, start applying mortgages pre-approval.
posted by zabuni at 9:48 AM on April 17 [12 favorites]


25% drop in African American population in Oakland.

In Oakland there may be a bit of a reverse trend, where African American families are moving out of really bad neighborhoods into safer areas with better schools.

Well, we know already that it's possible, because previous efforts were successful, schools were much more integrated. And schools should be integrated.


I know there have been some integration success stories, like in North Carolina, that have sadly failed over time, but I was under the impression that most of the South never integrated that well, where private schools were built for white kids as soon as the Civil Rights Act was passed.

In Southern Towns, 'Segregation Academies' Are Still Going Strong

In San Diego I got to know areas that were very successfully integrated, but between many different ethnicities - Hispanic, Vietnamese, Philipino, African American, White, etc. - and I think they were very proud of this, but everybody who could (which seemed to be a large percentage of people) sent their kids to a Catholic school which also accepted some students from Tijuana.

I think the key is to make it easier for healthy families willing and able to to make an effort to move into a safer neighborhood and find a better school for their kids. This may be impossible in places like Tuscaloosa and much of the South, but in California it may already be working well in some areas.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:55 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


corb: "I don't send her to the local middle school, not because it's largely black and Hispanic, but because I don't want her to have to learn about metal detectors and strip searches this early in her life. I tried to get permission to send her to the good schools further away, but they denied me. And it's kind of really expensive, and I sweat about how to scrape to do it. And so I think, "Man, it'd be great if I lived somewhere where she could go to a good school, that I wasn't spending all of our discretionary income on getting her a moderately decent education.""

I believe that per this Supreme Court case, school strip searches are unconstitutional and have been since 2009.

In NYC at least, the presence of metal detectors are not a valid metric of whether the education a student receives is either above- or sub-par. There are metal detectors at most of the top-rated / scoring schools in the city, including Stuyvesant.
posted by zarq at 9:56 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]


As long as schools are funded locally, there will be grave disparities in school quality, and racial makeup. I know it's a nonstarter in this political climate, but Federalizing (and equalising) public school funding could eliminate the need for gerrymandering, busing, and other band aids on the real problem of basic differences in school quality.
posted by jetsetsc at 10:03 AM on April 17 [19 favorites]


corb: But what are my better options? What is the solution?

I'd like to introduce you to your new hero, Elizabeth Warren.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:14 AM on April 17 [10 favorites]


I know it's a nonstarter in this political climate, but Federalizing (and equalising) public school funding could eliminate the need for gerrymandering, busing, and other band aids on the real problem of basic differences in school quality.

I live in a state where the schools are all state-funded, which is to say that every school gets the same amount of money per student, per day.

So, rather than some kids going to really great schools and some kids going to really bad schools, all the children go to mediocre schools.

I'm not suggesting you are wrong with regards to school quality, but be careful what you wish for when trying to correct it.
posted by madajb at 10:20 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


I know it's a nonstarter in this political climate, but Federalizing (and equalising) public school funding could eliminate the need for gerrymandering, busing, and other band aids on the real problem of basic differences in school quality.

Equal funding for all schools really isn't going to cut it, unfortunately. I did my student teaching in a school in a very wealthy area and the parents donated just tons and tons of money; a portion of what they would have invested in private school they instead donated to the PTA so the school was really, really good even though it's in a city with many super shitty schools. Rich people are going to do whatever they can to make sure their kids are in good schools.

Also, I've talked about this before but I can tell you, having worked in some truly bad schools, but money is far from the only thing affecting school quality. Schools in poor areas often actually need more money than schools in rich areas because they are making up for so many deficits, and even if there were more money, it wouldn't make all schools equal.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:29 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


So, rather than some kids going to really great schools and some kids going to really bad schools, all the children go to mediocre schools.

Is this supposed to be bad? That sounds like a success.
posted by deathmaven at 10:30 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]


Is this supposed to be bad? That sounds like a success.

Unless you want your kids to get a great education.
posted by corb at 10:31 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


If the cost of everyone getting a decent education is one's own kids getting a less than stellar education, I think that's worth the tradeoff for society. It's hard to see that as a parent, but parent's affections for their own children at the expense of others should not be driving policy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:34 AM on April 17 [11 favorites]


Who doesn't want their kid to get a great education, and who deserves to actually get it?
posted by deathmaven at 10:34 AM on April 17


zabuni: "And what else would you expect them to do? Not try to get a good education for their kids?"

Personally, and I more and more feel a little isolated in this, I would MUCH rather have my children look at me and know that I was a person who fought for equality and against segregation even when the stakes were high for me and my family personally than white-flight to suburbia for "better schools," because I think the lesson you teach your children by doing that is not one you want them to learn.

I have a really hard time with people who say, "Well, once my children are involved, I can make decisions based on fear and self-interest rather than my strongly-held moral principles." I can't bear the thought of my children looking at me making an important decision about them and knowing that I did something immoral simply because it was easier. It seems MORE important to make principled decisions when my children are watching.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:36 AM on April 17 [62 favorites]


If I want my kids to get a great education at the expense of the education of black kids, I'm giving my kids a great education in privilege but a pretty poor education in justice.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:37 AM on April 17 [30 favorites]


All the public schools in Texas, regardless of income, are snarled in an impossible tangle of overtesting, religious censorship stupidity (sex, evolution, history) and our current legislature is just fine with that, because their kids don't go to public schools, public education is just another socialist giveaway, and it's more fun to find ways to funnel that money to their cronies however they can.

As a state, we're getting browner all the time, anyway.

In other words, I think integration is a problem, but it's dwarfed by the full-on hostility to public education of any kind. My kid went to a low-income, majority-minority school, but I would happily have kept him there if the insane amount of testing and worksheets--for a first-grader--weren't a problem. He had good teachers and got along fine with the other kids. But the other bullshit was just too much, and when we got a very lucky opportnity to put him in a Montessori-type private school at low cost, we leapt on it. We were afraid we were going to have to home school otherwise.
posted by emjaybee at 10:51 AM on April 17 [9 favorites]


Is this supposed to be bad? That sounds like a success.

"Everyone does equally poorly" is not generally considered successful, but I suppose it depends on your particular viewpoint.
posted by madajb at 10:56 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Equally poor would be a failure. And every school being a great would would be a stellar success. But with the implied intent of meting out funds among schools at an equal rate being to eliminate the gross inequality of school quality, uniform mediocrity is the definition of a baseline success.
posted by deathmaven at 11:00 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee, if I could favorite your comment a thousand times I would.

And I would add, I think there are benefits to growing up in the city that go beyond what you've mentioned. I grew up in the suburbs, you couldn't get anywhere without a car, we were basically 100% dependent on my parents' willingness to drive us around to do, literally, anything. Now I live in Chicago two blocks from a high school and I see these kids who ride the train to school, who (thanks to real transit) have the same mobility in the city as I do, and who are exposed to all the cultural amenities of a city, and to all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, and who as a consequence have a confidence and self-assurance that I couldn't even have imagined at that age, and I am so fucking jealous. I think I would be a much better person if I had grown up like that. I think I would have disabused myself of a lot of my stupid ideas much sooner. I think it would have been a vastly more positive influence on me than the awful suburban private school that I loathed and which I fled at the very earliest opportunity.

Parents who move to the suburbs like to talk as though they're sacrificing their own lifestyles for their kids, but they're sacrificing a lot of their kids' opportunities, too.
posted by enn at 11:01 AM on April 17 [12 favorites]


If I want my kids to get a great education at the expense of the education of black kids,

Is staying in a worse district going to make a dent in the system?
posted by jpe at 11:02 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I think integration is a problem, but it's dwarfed by the full-on hostility to public education of any kind.

Full-on hostility to public education of any kind is exclusively a reaction to integration.
posted by deathmaven at 11:03 AM on April 17 [7 favorites]


So, rather than some kids going to really great schools and some kids going to really bad schools, all the children go to mediocre schools.
posted by madajb at 12:20 PM on April 17


I don't know, I live in Tennessee, and the "really great" public schools appear to provide what I (a foreigner) consider a subpar education, based solely on the totally unscientific sample of my friends (I've never gone to school here). My cohort who actually grew up here don't understand basic scientific concepts much of the time, can't figure out the basic math involved in tipping 20% an alarming amount of the time, seem to know their own history worse than I do (I'm not a history buff, but I do read a lot) and have weird gaps of knowledge that show up just from, say, talking about Big Bang Theory or the news. I'm talking about people whose upper-middle-class parents made sure they went to the best schools, and who have masters degrees (and have genuinely great educations in whatever their masters was in), so it's not a question of intelligence or opportunity.

I'd settle for actual mediocre schools over comparatively-"really great" but-actually-pretty-shitty schools. It would be a step up even if you only care about the privileged kids to begin with.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:05 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


jpe: " Is staying in a worse district going to make a dent in the system?"

Over time, sure. Change starts when parents push for higher standards by getting involved, making noise, helping out, running for school board, etc.
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


madajb: "Everyone does equally poorly" is not generally considered successful, but I suppose it depends on your particular viewpoint.

Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. What do you think happens when you fight to position yourself at the top of a heap that's disintegrating beneath you? Even assuming that you're one of the lucky ones who can remain at the top for the duration of your child's education, you're still going to fall relative to countries that are ensuring that the baseline education available to everyone is actually worth something. We see this reflected in the international metrics.

Meanwhile, how do you think the next generation of teachers is going to be able to teach when many of them came up with a sub-par education themselves? This all just ends in the same kind of fractal inequality of education that we have now with income.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:12 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Change happens when multiple parents do that. One parent isn't going to do much, I wouldn't think. It's the voting paradox: my vote doesn't change a lick, and no amount of "but if everyone thought that way...." hypothesizing changes that.
posted by jpe at 11:12 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Sure, over time. But is it really worth disadvantaging your kids for several years just to be able to feel good about possibly making a dent in the future somewhere down the line that your kids won't be able to enjoy?

My cohort who actually grew up here don't understand basic scientific concepts much of the time, can't figure out the basic math involved in tipping 20% an alarming amount of the time, seem to know their own history worse than I do (I'm not a history buff, but I do read a lot) and have weird gaps of knowledge that show up just from, say, talking about Big Bang Theory or the news.

This sounds like you're talking about things that are not the result of schools at all, but rather, say, the influence of religion and various political ideologies.
posted by corb at 11:12 AM on April 17


jpe: "Change happens when multiple parents do that. One parent isn't going to do much, I wouldn't think. It's the voting paradox: my vote doesn't change a lick, and no amount of "but if everyone thought that way...." hypothesizing changes that."

Sure, but you have to start somewhere. And the only way to motivate others is to be willing to take on responsibility yourself.

I'm a member of my kids' PTA. Parents get involved when they think they might be able to make a difference, one way or another.
posted by zarq at 11:15 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


jpe: "Change happens when multiple parents do that. One parent isn't going to do much, I wouldn't think. It's the voting paradox: my vote doesn't change a lick, and no amount of "but if everyone thought that way...." hypothesizing changes that."

So get together with a cohort of parents and ALL stay in the schools. If there's ten of you, congratulations, you're now an official power bloc in local governance. Or run for school board and you'll have outsized influence.

corb: "Sure, over time. But is it really worth disadvantaging your kids for several years just to be able to feel good about possibly making a dent in the future somewhere down the line that your kids won't be able to enjoy? "

Definitely how our forefathers encourage us to think about America. "Eh, do I really want to disadvantage my kids for several years so that future generations can know freedom and equality? Naw, King George III is good enough. This slavery thing probably isn't so bad. I might get expelled from college if I protest Vietnam. It'll hurt my kids if I go to jail as a sufragette. Better just let it lie, it'll be better for my kids that way."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:20 AM on April 17 [22 favorites]


Is staying in a worse district going to make a dent in the system?

I have yet to be in a system where I haven't made a dent. And a lot of this has to do with privilege.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:21 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


corb: Sure, over time. But is it really worth disadvantaging your kids for several years just to be able to feel good about possibly making a dent in the future somewhere down the line that your kids won't be able to enjoy?

There are two choices you're conflating here. The first choice is where you live, which in part determines the funding levels that your local public schools get. The second choice is where you send your kids to school, which is for the most part only a choice for people with the means to pay over and above what they're already paying to fund the local public school. Where someone lives isn't always a choice, and when that choice is made, it's not like it can be easily changed on a whim, but the fact that the resources available to schools come primarily from municipalities means there's something comparable to "job lock" going on with public schools.

The answer, then, to reduce the amount of friction in this system, is to have more funds come from the state or federal governments, so that the quality of the schools is less dependent on where people live. Sure, in areas where there's no good school available for many miles, this won't amount to much, but in my experience, the state of affairs is more "hey, here's a good public school, and right across the township line here's a bad public school", and the goodness or badness of the schools correlates with the tax base in those municipalities. Decouple those two things (which would include something like Elizabeth Warren's public voucher idea) and suddenly the people who live close enough to the good school can go there, and maybe the bad school, which now has more funding parity with the good school, can become competitive.

The alternative is the fractal inequality death spiral I mentioned above, but before that, probably, a complete collapse of the public education system in favor of private school for those who can afford it, and public babysitting masquerading as primary/secondary education for the rest. Your kid will have to live in a world with some of those people, and there's probably a limit to the size of the moat she'll be able to afford.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:22 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]


corb: "Sure, over time. But is it really worth disadvantaging your kids for several years just to be able to feel good about possibly making a dent in the future somewhere down the line that your kids won't be able to enjoy? "

We stand on the shoulders of others.

I'm not sure my kids would necessarily be disadvantaged. They're bright, curious children and my wife and i are actively involved in their educations. We're already teaching them more than they're learning in school. That wouldn't change. Also, even if change takes a couple of years, I think that would certainly be worth it and they'd still be in the system.

I'd rather push for my kids to have a better education by fostering change than apathetically help maintain a negative status quo.

Perhaps it's a matter of perspective. I don't know. I grew up dirt poor, especially in my teens, and didn't really have any entitlements beyond my skin color.
posted by zarq at 11:24 AM on April 17 [11 favorites]


My cohort who actually grew up here don't understand basic scientific concepts much of the time, can't figure out the basic math involved in tipping 20% an alarming amount of the time, seem to know their own history worse than I do (I'm not a history buff, but I do read a lot) and have weird gaps of knowledge that show up just from, say, talking about Big Bang Theory or the news.

This sounds like you're talking about things that are not the result of schools at all, but rather, say, the influence of religion and various political ideologies


My husband and I are both from Tennessee. We attended what were easily regarded as good public schools. Both our parents were educators and were actively involved in making sure we got a really good education. We were smart kids, with good grades and even better test scores. However, when my husband went to the Air Force Academy he discovered that a good school in Tennessee is not equivalent to a good school in New York. For me, it wasn't until grad school that I discovered the gaps in my education. But they are there and they are huge.

What I think people really fail to realize is that state and local supervision of public schools can be very detrimental to the level of education provided to the public. Frequently the inaction and lack of support for local schools does far more harm than active segregation or formal policies. I know the federal government doesn't do a lot of things well, but I remember when the Green decision ended in Tennessee and what happened to public schools. When the guiding hand of Federal oversight is removed, local communities can starve out "bad" schools and keep them bad.

Where I live now in St. Louis, the public school situation is actually worse. You have a poor performing school that loses its state accreditation, then said school has to pay to bus children to better school districts because you can't force a kid to go to a failing school. Then the school has absolutely no funding to improve and address the issue that caused the school to fail in the first place. No one votes for an increase in taxes because all the people who live there with money send their kids to private schools anyway.
posted by teleri025 at 11:24 AM on April 17 [8 favorites]


The answer, then, to reduce the amount of friction in this system, is to have more funds come from the state or federal governments, so that the quality of the schools is less dependent on where people live.

I even agree with you, but I don't think you need to sacrifice your kid for something like that. Essentially, if the problem can be solved with voter advocacy, is it necessary to condemn your own child just so you have more moral high ground in your advocacy? If you're already going to be engaged, then you don't need the extra impetus given by your own child attending those schools - you already care and want them to be better.
posted by corb at 11:25 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


One thing that I'm not sure has been looked at empirically is the performance of children of privileged parents in bad schools. Given how important parental involvement and modeling are to child educational performance, it would not surprise me to see that kids whose parents are both at least college grads and who can give them a stable living situation and have time to be involved in their education would not do just as well in "bad" schools as they would in "good" ones.

Does anybody know whether there's data on this?
posted by gauche at 11:26 AM on April 17


is it necessary to condemn your own child just so you have more moral high ground in your advocacy?

1. "condemn" seems an unnecessarily strong term here.
2. I don't know if there's actual evidence in support of the premise that putting your kids into a "bad" school is the sole factor in whether your child is "condemned" to a substandard education. I suspect that the home environment and parental involvement play a large role in the quality of a child's education.
posted by gauche at 11:29 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


corb: I even agree with you, but I don't think you need to sacrifice your kid for something like that.

Collective action problems are collective action problems. I'm not saying you have to be the one to "condemn" your child to a public education, but someone does. Then again, given that you think the presence of metal detectors in New York City is a sign of a bad school, and that you think strip searches are widespread enough that you have no choice but to send your kid to a private school, I think you might not be looking at the situation with an open mind.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:30 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Can anyone point me to the feature that allows checking local districts for desegregation orders? It is mentioned in the Note to Our Readers, but I can't find the link. Has it been published yet?
posted by Talia Devane at 11:33 AM on April 17


I'd settle for actual mediocre schools over comparatively-"really great" but-actually-pretty-shitty schools. It would be a step up even if you only care about the privileged kids to begin with.

I was not here then the schools were "great" so I can't speak to the actual quality back then.

I can tell you that I would consider them barely adequate now, and people I trust have told me there has been a marked decline since the switch to state funding.
posted by madajb at 11:36 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


If you send a child to random crappy district school in NYC they won't even _try_ to teach them at the level that would be open to them at Stuy, a Catholic school, or a public charter.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:36 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what is the solution or , to some extent, the problem is. But I do know that when it comes to the illusion of safety of one's children, the perceived quality of their education and the economics of home ownership 95% of all the discussion here has very little to do with the real choices made by real people trying to get along. I have lived through the major busing/separate is (not) equal/etc. and rationality and reason quickly go right down the drain. And for every one of the 17 persons who said they would rather send their child to a school with diversity rather than a "good" school I am willing to wager their are 10+ who would disagree. I really do not know if it is conscious/unconscious/overt/institutional racism but as long as it is mixed with real/imagined fear and economics it is not easily, if at all, resolvable. I am equally confident that until the appellation of "racist behavior" is moderated and the issues of safety and economic stability and economic discrimination is dealt with that nothing will change.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:39 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Talia Devane: "Can anyone point me to the feature that allows checking local districts for desegregation orders? It is mentioned in the Note to Our Readers, but I can't find the link. Has it been published yet?"

Talia, I don't believe so. I looked but didn't find it when I put this post together.

When it's up, I will post it in the thread unless someone beats me to it.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on April 17


> I just don't know how we're going to get past slavery and Jim Crow in this country

Especially considering that New York was not a slave state, did not go through reconstruction, and had no Jim Crow laws but now, per research by the UCLA Civil Rights Project, has the most segregated school system in the US.

"In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation -- no Southern state comes close to New York," Orfield said. Other states with highly segregated schools include Illinois, Michigan and California, according to the Civil Rights Project. (N.b "Orfield = Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report.)
posted by jfuller at 11:47 AM on April 17 [5 favorites]


> 1. "condemn" seems an unnecessarily strong term here.

Why no, not at all. Though "sacrifice" would do about as well.
posted by jfuller at 11:49 AM on April 17


Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. What do you think happens when you fight to position yourself at the top of a heap that's disintegrating beneath you?

I would quite happily contribute the multiple thousands of dollars that private schools costs to school taxes* instead.
However, the other people who vote near me do not feel the same way and repeatedly demonstrate it come election time.


*(Or the local equivalent, since we don't have school taxes.)
posted by madajb at 11:50 AM on April 17


corb: " I even agree with you, but I don't think you need to sacrifice your kid for something like that. Essentially, if the problem can be solved with voter advocacy, is it necessary to condemn your own child just so you have more moral high ground in your advocacy? If you're already going to be engaged, then you don't need the extra impetus given by your own child attending those schools - you already care and want them to be better."

One of the most important lessons I can teach my kids, is how to be decent, morally-upstanding and responsible human beings and supportive members and/or leaders of their respective communities. I believe that is a vital lesson they will need to succeed in the future.

That includes showing them by example that if they want something in this life, it will not be handed to them under any circumstances. They will need to work hard for the things they need and want. And it also includes encouraging them to go the extra mile and care about the well-being of people other than themselves.

I disagree with your word choices: "Condemn." "Sacrifice." I think you're assuming something not in evidence.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on April 17 [9 favorites]


Sure, over time. But is it really worth disadvantaging your kids for several years just to be able to feel good about possibly making a dent in the future somewhere down the line that your kids won't be able to enjoy?

Hmm. I don't think it is "just to be able to feel good about" it. A short term solution may be to provide more opportunity for disadvantaged kids who are working hard to attend better schools through 'scholarships,' and vouchers, and whatever. In the long term, work to improve salvageable schools and communities. Even if someone decides to send their kid to a private school, they can still choose to actively create a more diverse community outside of school.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:06 PM on April 17


if you've ever been to Tuscaloosa, the white people live on one side of town in faded ranch-style homes and the black people live on the other... in shacks (with a 100K person football stadium and attached university in between). How could you possibly integrate the schools?

While there is certainly a good bit of de facto residential segregation, it isn't that bad. How could we possibly integrate the schools? The way it was done until the court order ended in 2001. There was a single, integrated high school that everyone went to. The issue of desegregation in Tuscaloosa City Schools is relatively simple compared to, say Birmingham, where the suburbs are separate municipalities that all have separate school systems. Here, it's all one district and only a matter of drawing school zones.
posted by fogovonslack at 12:08 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Note also on that time line, that Tuscaloosa didn't integrate its schools until 1979, 12 years after the entire state of Alabama was ordered to desegregate and 25 years after Brown v Board of Education. Children born after Brown graduated from college before Tuscaloosa desegregated.
posted by fogovonslack at 12:10 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Baring my soul time, feel free to skip down 'lest I lose you in the quagmire of my thoughts...

Background: I'm from Alabama, lower-middle class, white but not super white, went to a public high school that was actually split down the middle racially in Town B, was actually kinda good relative to the region it was in, and didn't see any of the crazy nonsense science that states like Texas seem to be afflicted with. I later attended one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the country, much to the detriment of my overwhelmed-in-comparison-to-many-classmate brain, and later graduated from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a STEM degree, the first in my family to do so since polio killed a great uncle shortly after he graduated, woo...

That said, my family basically moved 4 hours away from Town A to Town B before I was of school age basically for that reason. Seriously, if they would have stayed put I would have been in a school area where the graduating class size was barely double digits. It actually boggles my mind that schools like this still exist, because what sort of resources can a place like that really offer, but whatever, it's true.

But my parents never considered a private school for me, although they could have afforded it, if barely and with much travel to-and-from said faraway site, and boy am I glad. My integration, and I don't use that word lightly in the face of openly racist schoolyard peers and not so open scrawled-on-the-bathroom-stall sentiments, was more important in preparing me for life and the world as a whole than any theoretical improvements in teacher resources or curriculum might have been in another location.

Take it for what it's worth, but my dad was/is a self-admitted and self-converted racist. He was just raised to look down upon, mock, and just see black people as 'lesser' in general. The way he told it to me was that one day he was conversing (I guess what most people would call praying) with the Lord and he said, quite literally, "Lord, help me love black people." and boom, that was it. Religion does do good things, or can anyway... but I digress, but ping me for questions if you want my 'been there, done that' view on things since I'm pretty close to ground zero on this topic.

But to my point: You know what's also so, and it's terrible to say this, so sickeningly-amusing to see? When people attempt to insulate their kids from 'the other' which, as others in this thread have pointed out, is often presented in the form of arguments against poor districts or bad teachers or out of concern for their physical well-being or whatever and they send them to private (often religious) schools and it blows up in their face. Or more specifically in the face of their kids.

I've witnessed this very thing before from family friends who had kids younger than I. They tried public schools, some of the very same teachers I had in fact, only to switch gears and send them to private schools then to home schools then give up and send them, finally now that they're in their high school years, back to the public high school in their area.

The schools they attended in the meantime were, categorically and empirically, worse than they public schools the parents tried so desperately to avoid. The kids have worse scores on all placement test and are grades behind where they should be otherwise and their people skills.. god their people skills... are simply nowhere near that of other kids their age. Having *any* friends is a challenge and it's just heart-breaking to see their facebook feeds are only populated by family commenting on their selfies or status updates instead of others peers of their own age.

You chuckle, then you cry...

I don't know the solution, other than time, for things like that. People are going to do what they think is best, long view be damned. I said it before, twice even, and I'll say it again here: thanks mom and dad. The thought of what/who I'd be without my public school education and multiple friends of color is, quite literally, terrifying.... and I was *that* close to ending up very different.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:21 PM on April 17 [13 favorites]


Full-on hostility to public education of any kind is exclusively a reaction to integration.

No, I think the hostility towards social programs of any kind by those at the top is fueled by an ideology of greed and power based on the worship of capital.

They often use the racism of those at the bottom to get them to go along with the destruction of social programs, but I don't think that's the prime motivator. If all poor black people were replaced with poor white people, you wouldn't see the right embracing the New Deal all of a sudden.
posted by emjaybee at 12:25 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


They often use the racism of those at the bottom to get them to go along with the destruction of social programs, but I don't think that's the prime motivator. If all poor black people were replaced with poor white people, you wouldn't see the right embracing the New Deal all of a sudden.

I get what you're saying and I certainly think capitalism and racism are seriously intertwined, but I don't feel like that makes it any better. It's like saying, "Well, sure, they eat their own shit, but not because they believe in it, just because it's convenient." The fact that racism isn't repulsive enough to these people to prevent them from using it as a rhetorical cudgel is a serious character flaw, not an excuse.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:29 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


A school system with a 35 percent annual student mobility rate, with half of its students living at the poverty line, with most of their parents having only a high school education -- with National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores among the highest in the U.S.? It sounds more like an ambitious goal than an actual district profile.

I give you the DoD school system.

And they are integrated, and have been for a long time. Military brats receive an excellent K-12 education, on par with the best public schools in the country. So we already know how to run a Federally funded school system, all we need to do is scale it up.

Although in reality it wouldn't be that easy. The military base environment affords the schools some advantages that the public schools don't have, like kids growing up in a home where disciple is a thing.

#AirForceBrat
posted by COD at 12:39 PM on April 17 [9 favorites]


If the cost of everyone getting a decent education is one's own kids getting a less than stellar education, I think that's worth the tradeoff for society. It's hard to see that as a parent, but parent's affections for their own children at the expense of others should not be driving policy.

Most of our friends send their kids to private schools now, but have kept our kids in the town's public schools for a few reasons:
1. We have four kids, and that would cost a frickin' fortune at $10k/year to $40k/year each for a dozen years -- and that ignores college!

2. If all the smart/wealthy/educated/involved families leave, who is left to keep the schools running? All schools need volunteers, and parents to show up for events, and citizens to keep an eye on the stupid Superintendent and his hare-brained schemes. If everyone "quits" then we are collectively condemning the entire system to die.

3. If all the smart/wealthy/educated/involved families leave, then my kid has an easier shot at being top of their class!
posted by wenestvedt at 12:40 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


If everyone "quits" then we are collectively condemning the entire system to die.

The Republicans among that group see that as a benefit, not a problem.
posted by COD at 12:42 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


(And BTW, I live in a mostly-white, mostly-affluent suburb of Providence, RI, though the south end of town is noticeably poorer and browner and less English-speaking than my end, which is why our schools do better. I am not exactly comfortable with the way everyone bails out on our neighbors!)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:44 PM on April 17


In the large district I'm most familiar with, the schools are relatively segregated. I'm fairly certain this is not by explicit design but because students go to school near where they live and the city itself is pretty segregated.
ennui.bz: “[I]f you've ever been to Tuscaloosa, the white people live on one side of town in faded ranch-style homes and the black people live on the other... in shacks[.] […] How could you possibly integrate the schools?”
I think this gets to the heart of the matter. Even if the schools themselves in Tuscaloosa were funded and supported equitably, or as fogovonslack points out they just went back to a single high school, the underlying inequality of living conditions means that not much would change in terms of student outcomes.

As I never tire of saying, if you want children to do well in school and grow up to become productive citizens they have to have stable lives. That means they need stable homes. Which means their parents need stable jobs.

With legal segregation a thing of the past, zero-hour scheduling and employment-at-will do more harm to our schools than anything except deliberate under-funding of schools in struggling neighborhoods. Ending abusive — and, of course, largely discriminatory — employment practices would do more to help children than any voucher program or centralized funding scheme.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:55 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Although in reality it wouldn't be that easy. The military base environment affords the schools some advantages that the public schools don't have, like kids growing up in a home where disciple is a thing.

I'd wager it's more important that on base, parents can be held accountable for what their kids do or don't do in school.

(also USAF brat, Andrews/Spangdahlem/Zweibrucken/Homestead/Luke/Hahn/Ramstein/MacDill)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:58 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


Having said that, it's also important that military installations are basically little towns where there are no families without working parents, no families earning ridiculously little (though young enlisted and NCO families will for damn sure have very little spending money), no families where both parents have substantial and clear substance abuse problems, no families where the only parent is mentally ill enough to be unemployable, no families going bankrupt because of medical expenses, etc. Little towns from vaguely-kinda-the-south with the lowest-SES tier of families just... missing, and provided with a whole wealth of government programs to help them and especially to help the lowest-SES remaining in the community.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:06 PM on April 17 [12 favorites]


Definitely how our forefathers encourage us to think about America. "Eh, do I really want to disadvantage my kids for several years so that future generations can know freedom and equality? Naw, King George III is good enough. This slavery thing probably isn't so bad. I might get expelled from college if I protest Vietnam. It'll hurt my kids if I go to jail as a sufragette. Better just let it lie, it'll be better for my kids that way."

how our forefathers thought is a little more obvious than that - "hmmm, i don't like my life here in england, ireland, whatever, i'll go overseas to america - hmmm, i don't like my life here in new york, but i hear the land's good in ohio - hmmm, ohio's not so great, i'll move to nebraska - hmmm, the south's really bad for us black people, let's go up north - hmmm, this city sucks, let's go to the burbs - the burbs are plastic and dull, let's move to the sticks - or back into town"

we tend to be a restless people who are always looking to go over the next hill

but actually, about 1/3 of our forefathers did think king george was good enough, many northerners weren't put out by slavery at all, most baby boomers didn't protest vietnam, and most women didn't march as suffragettes

and yeah, most people want to live in the "good" neighborhoods and send their kids to the "good" schools and they'll move somewhere to do that if they have to

welcome to america
posted by pyramid termite at 1:10 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


the underlying inequality of living conditions means that not much would change in terms of student outcomes

From the article:
[B]lack Americans who attended schools integrated by court order were more likely to graduate, go on to college, and earn a degree than black Americans who attended segregated schools. They made more money: five years of integrated schooling increased the earnings of black adults by 15 percent. They were significantly less likely to spend time in jail. They were healthier.

Notably, Rucker also found that black progress did not come at the expense of white Americans—white students in integrated schools did just as well academically as those in segregated schools.
posted by epersonae at 1:14 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]


In the large district I'm most familiar with, the schools are relatively segregated. I'm fairly certain this is not by explicit design but because students go to school near where they live and the city itself is pretty segregated.

It's not happenstance that white families happen to live in white-majority school districts and minority families happen to live in minority-majority school districts.

This story doesn't focus on schools outside of the South that were never forced to integrate in the first place, even though as noted the majority of "apartheid schools" are in the Northeast and Midwest (although that may not be per-capita). That doesn't mean that segregated schools outside of the south happened by accident - just that, perhaps, it's more difficult to dig out the political and cultural machinations that led to the current state.
posted by muddgirl at 1:16 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


just a small couple of data points - i come from battle creek - battle creek school systems is the integrated one and rivals segregated lakeview high school as the best of a sorry lot - (note - governor snyder came from lakeview - enough said) - the outlying schools are suburban, white and they suck

here in kalamazoo, the kalamazoo - and to a lesser degree, the portage school systems are somewhat integrated and are considered pretty good - outlying areas, less integrated and less good

so i'm not sure the idea that the big city school district is necessarily the worst one holds up
posted by pyramid termite at 1:18 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


One example of an analysis of what factors lead to neighborhood segregation in a Northern city is Beryl Satter's book Family Properties.
posted by muddgirl at 1:35 PM on April 17


I'm fairly certain this is not by explicit design

It's really important I think to recognize that actually, yes, it is by explicit design. The design may be opaque thanks in part to decades of obfuscating history, but it is there. It's redlining, and it's policies and budgets set by school boards and city councils and state legislatures, and it's even choices made by individual families, which at that individual level may be quite benign, but in aggregate create a system that doesn't just passively benefit some people but actively harms many others.
posted by rtha at 1:40 PM on April 17 [8 favorites]


Want to improve school outcomes and cut the racial achievement gap? Focus on decreasing the wage gap and creating more affordable housing. That #slatepitch bullshit article about why desegregation fails overshadowed its one very salient argument with a mountain of #trollpoint but the single best predictor of student success is socio-economic status, and there's a lot more bound up there than the naive individualist versus the integrationist martyr.

I went to open schools, and got fast-tracked initially because I was ostensibly a minority (ironically, I turned out to have the same concentration of minority heritage from another minority ultimately). Their diversity breakdown is dire (racial, SES, parents' educational attainment, everything) and I was definitely an outsider there, but since they're all lottery now it's something that could be corrected with pro-active outreach (e.g. middle-school teachers encouraging minority students to apply).

And I'll also say that I benefited probably just as much from that school as I did from growing up in a really diverse neighborhood.
posted by klangklangston at 2:11 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I should have been more explicit on two counts.

First, the large system I'm most familiar with is Atlanta. I've lived in or around the city for nearly 40 years. I know my profile picture is me in front of Wrigley Field and I list my location as 1060 W. Addison. That's because I'm a fan of The Blues Brothers. In fact all the time I've ever spent in Chicago was the 48 hours preceding that photograph. Which I made my business partner stop on the way back to O'Hare specifically to take.

Second, I quite agree with rtha and that was at least in part the point I was trying to make. There is a broad, perniciously racist system underlying the economics of the South which is to my mind a huge part of the problems school systems here face. I suppose what I meant to say is that segregated schools aren't by explicit design of the school system, the school board, or city government.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:28 PM on April 17


I suppose what I meant to say is that segregated schools aren't by explicit design of the school system, the school board, or city government.

But it is. Right here in this story about Tuscaloosa, it is. School boards and city councils asked a federal judge to release them from their legal obligations - that didn't just happen. They decided to create three new schools. That didn't just happen. The result has been (re)segregation, and it was very much by design.
posted by rtha at 2:52 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


Also Zeus didn't descend from Olympus and force the people of Tuscaloosa to split their school district into the three specific districts or catchment areas that they did. It would have been entirely possible for them to have split into three desegregated districts, each with a chunk of central city and suburbs. But they chose not to.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:19 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


I know it's a nonstarter in this political climate, but Federalizing (and equalising) public school funding could eliminate the need for gerrymandering, busing, and other band aids on the real problem of basic differences in school quality.

Not in the real world, it wouldn't. Engaged parents with some brains will always have better results than indifferent parents without brains (or time to be engaged). Then too, good teachers will tend towards schools with the former rather than the latter. And that's not even getting into the issue of (private) after-school tutoring, or the volunteers, or the efforts of the PTOs.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:20 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


I'm not disagreeing, y'all. I'm just saying that's not how it is in Atlanta. Atlanta, while in just as desperate a situation vis-à-vis resegregation as Tuscaloosa [PDF], has different problems with different causes. Atlanta schools have had unitary status since 1972 (p. 13, [PDF]), decades before the Dowell decision.

In any case, I still say the solution to many of the problems in our schools are decent jobs for the parents.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:11 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


Reading Bringslid's thesis paper, I can't see how it supports an argument that current segregation was not caused by intentional racist decisions on the part of public officials including the superindendent of public schools during the period of supposed integration. Apparently Atlanta failed to ever integrate the way Tuscaloosa did. The last paragraph of Page 7 continuing to Page 8 is a good summary.
posted by muddgirl at 9:53 PM on April 17


Of course politics in Georgia and Atlanta have been racist. I mean, Lester Maddox was Governor until 1971 and Lieutenant Governor after that. Lester Maddox. Hell, the rebel battle flag was on the state flag until 2001.

You're quite right that Atlanta never made a serious attempt at integration before the so-called Compromise of 1973. You'd also be right to point out, as Bringslid does, that by that point real integration was a nearly impossible goal as the white population had already largely moved away.

Even so, in that year Alonzo Crim took over as Superintendent. Maynard Jackson was elected mayor of Atlanta in 1974. Between them, along with Andrew Young, these men guided the Atlanta Public Schools and the City of Atlanta for most of the next two decades.

It should be obvious that the racism that shaped the city and schools, as well as those of the suburbs, during the period after Atlanta's black leaders forced integration was not by the design of the Atlanta government or the school board. By the design of the white business interests and white state legislators, absolutely. With the complicity of white religious and civic leaders, of course. But not by the government of Atlanta itself, which is what I wrote.

The fact remains, and in her conclusion Bringslid seems to agree, that as long as there isn't a useful distinction between economic class and race in Atlanta, progress will be limited. Which is why I say that we need decent jobs for people.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:39 AM on April 18


ProPublica has posted Source Notes for Segregation Now
posted by zarq at 5:52 AM on April 18


What you said was, "I suppose what I meant to say is that segregated schools aren't by explicit design of the school system, the school board, or city government," when it absolutely was. That the design occurred in the 60s in the case of Atlanta rather than in the 00s seems like an argument that is splitting hairs.

And that thesis doesn't even touch private or charter schools, merely mentions that that there is a 10-15% gap in the ratio of white students in APS districts who don't seem to attend schools in APS.
posted by muddgirl at 6:27 AM on April 18


...some things I miss about Tuscaloosa, some things I don't.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:47 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]


WashPost: "The 60th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling is almost upon us and it’s a good time to take a look at whether it succeeded in its mission: to end segregation in public schools."
posted by zarq at 10:31 AM on April 25


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