News Roundup 3.13.17-3.31.17: Vouchers & segregation, Bridging the Divide, school choice advocates & Nikole Hannah-Jones

There’s been a lot of (de)segregation news/media coverage in the last few weeks. This post briefly summarizes and links to the best stories I could find. A few of these – especially the Century Foundation report and the Baltimore Sun series – will be topics for discussion in subsequent posts. Close readers of the blog may remember that I have a 5 month old, so I’m behind on longer summaries/analysis, but wanted to get this stuff out there. Anyway, to the links:

The Century Foundation: Do Private School Vouchers Pose a Threat to Integration?

  • And, turns out they do. The author re-analyzed famous studies of voucher programs in Louisiana and Milwaukee, finding that vouchers did not promote integration. Instead, they either made segregation worse or kept racial division roughly the same.

Here’s coverage in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, and strangely enough, Teen Vogue.

Baltimore Sun: Bridging the Divide

  • In case you haven’t already seen it, this series covers the many barriers to school integration in Baltimore county. It’s fantastic reporting and worth a very close read. 

Here’s a summary and analysis from, the response from the Baltimore County school board, and a discussion on local talk radio (the Marc Steiner Show).

Washington Post: Trump Education Department nixes Obama-era grant program for school diversity

  • This was a $12 million grant program that awarded funds to school districts who created plans for “innovative, effective, ambitious, comprehensive, and locally driven strategies to increase socioeconomic diversity in schools.” The money was already set aside by the Obama Administration, and 26 districts said they were going to apply. Now the funds just go back to the general treasury. Policies Shift, Neighborhoods Change, but Elementary School Segregation Holds On

  • Fantastic and thorough look at segregation in New York City. Considers zoning, school choice and busing policies.

News updates

  • In a previous news analysis, I looked at a Kentucky law that would essentially end school integration in Jefferson County Public Schools (home to Louisville). The good news? That bill is dead for this session (Courier-Journal). The bad news? Lawmakers want to devote their time to a charter school bill (and charters are also bad for school integration).
  • Also in a previous post, I linked to research on charters and school segregation in Minneapolis. Earlier this month, a Minnesota appeals court dismissed a class-action lawsuit claiming the state violated the “adequacy” clause of its constitution by allowing students to attend segregated schools. (It’s important to note that the suit covers traditional public and charter schools.) Interestingly, the court didn’t rule on the actual substance of plaintiff’s claims. Instead, they claimed that adequacy in public education is a matter for the legislature, not for courts. The appeals process now heads to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Here’s coverage in the Minnesota Public Radio Blog and a very informative article in the Southwest Journal.

Lastly, there were several maddening pieces this month written by school choice advocates in response to Nikole Hannah-Jones’ recent article in the New York Times. (Definitely read this, if you haven’t already.) I think proponents of school choice maybe feel threatened by NHJ, because she is such an engaging public advocate for school integration. The response?

  • Completely overlook her support for public schools and use her name/work to advocate for school privatization, as in this article from The Hill. Or
  • Distort her work by claiming that she is an uncritical supporter public schools as they are now, as in this nonsense article from The 74.

Because I couldn’t resist, there’s comments from me following each of these articles. The point both are missing: public schools, while far far from perfect, still represent our best hope for meaningful school integration. School choice and privatization only make things worse.

One thought on “News Roundup 3.13.17-3.31.17: Vouchers & segregation, Bridging the Divide, school choice advocates & Nikole Hannah-Jones

  1. Pingback: News Roundup- Early April: Local stories, a troubling DOE update and more! | School Desegregation Notebook

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