This roundup covers the most relevant/useful stuff that I could find from the first half of April. There was a lot of media coverage of school segregation as well as several new studies of housing segregation. I’ve mainly just tried to organize the links here. Will do longer summaries in subsequent posts. To the links!
News coverage: Local stories and opinion pieces
- A staple of the roundup is keeping track of all the great advocacy begin done by Nikole Hannah-Jones. Here’s coverage of a talk she gave recently at the University of Montana, and here’s a great interview with Teaching Tolerance magazine. I can’t imagine that even opponents of integration would disagree with her. Here’s an example-
- “I think the biggest argument that you hear is that it just politically won’t work. I think what you hear is white parents are not going to go into these schools. If you try to force white parents to put their children in integrated schools, those white parents will withdraw from the system, they’ll pay for private schools or they’ll move to an area where there is no racial diversity. What you hear over and over is that it’s too hard. You don’t hear people saying it’s not the best thing for children; you hear people saying it’s too challenging.”
- This article from a special education and ELA teacher in the Bronx argues that integration should start with parents and then proceed to policy. Another great opportunity to plug IntegratedSchools.org, who operates under that exact approach.
- This article gives a nice overview of concerns regarding school resegregation and the interaction between housing and school segregation. I have a quibble with the idea of “bringing school segregation out of the shadows” – it feels like a privileged perspective. It’s not in the shadows for the millions of people who are affected by it who don’t have the option to ignore it.
- Abby Norman discusses the social pressure that white parents face when they choose integrated public schools.
- In previous posts, I’ve looked at research on charter segregation in the Minneapolis-St. Paul and I’ve covered a lawsuit against the state on the basis of the adequacy clause in its constitution. This article from Vice News is a fantastic complement to these posts and deserves a full read. It reports on student achievement in segregated charter schools in the Twin Cities and does a nice job of locating the issues there within the larger national context.
- Lastly, the school board in Fairfield, CT has begun to identify plans for addressing racial imbalance in its elementary schools. They’re empowered to do so through the state’s 1969 Racial Imbalance Law, which is still on the books. This hits home for me because it’s the town I grew up in. As noted in an earlier post, this is a predominantly White, affluent town; then, as now (and as in so many communities like this) it has a problem with race. The town is currently considering redistricting, opening up seats to students from nearby Bridgeport or establishing a magnet program. At this point they only have a timeline for considering these options. I will try to keep track of this as plans come together.
News coverage: Update on voucher bills
- Good news and bad news re voucher bills this month. The Texas House overwhelming approved a bill that bans all methods of diverting public funds to private schools. Meanwhile, a voucher bill in New Hampshire heads towards a full vote in their state senate.
- Last week, Secretary DeVos announced the DOE’s Assistant Secretary in the Office of Civil Rights (doesn’t require Senate confirmation). Surprise! Her pick – Candice Jackson – has no relevant experience for the position! But, she does have an ideological commitment to the “free market.” And, she also has a history of affiliation with people who are against compulsory public education and who have written against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When she was a student at Stanford, she regularly wrote about the “discrimination” she experienced as a member of the most culturally and institutionally privileged class of people in American history by a long, long way (she’s white). And, I had to include this: she co-wrote a country song that includes the following lyrics-
- “Some politician wants our liberty/ They say just trust me, we’re all family/ I’ve got a family and hey, it’s not you/ Don’t need Big Brother to see us through.”
- She’ll oversee about 550 DOE staffers who are in charge of investigating civil rights abuses in public education. Like these, for example. This obviously deserves more attention than it’s getting, and thankfully, there’s a great ProPublica piece about it. I will also try to keep track of any updates.
- Two weeks ago, I wrote about a Century Foundation report on vouchers and school segregation. Since then, I’ve come across two related pieces – a discussion with Richard Kahlenberg of TCF on school choice and school segregation and an article by Kahlenberg in the Atlantic.
- The first piece confuses me a bit because he focuses exclusively on economic integration, but then says “Integrated schools make it more difficult for demagogues to run for office by scapegoating minorities.” I couldn’t agree more. That’s a main reason I started this blog. But, it takes racial integration, not just economic, and they’re not the same.
- The second link talks about the importance of school boards and state courts in promoting integrated schools. Again, I don’t disagree. But, I do think it overlooks the importance of community-based democratic engagement.
- Last week, I wrote about an Education Research Alliance policy brief about the increase in segregation in charterized New Orleans. Here’s coverage of the brief in The Times-Picayune, an Ed Week Summary, and an Ed Week Commentary (yes – with additional commentary from me).
Housing segregation reports
- I try to keep track of research on housing because it is obviously a major factor in school segregation. But, it’s hard to find the time to read through and summarize these closely. In case you’re interested, here’s a few new studies I came across recently.
- A report from the Urban Institute called the Cost of Segregation found that less segregated communities are more inclusive and prosperous. The second link there also includes a cool interactive map of segregation in the 100 most populous urban zones. Then, this article in Next City written by the authors of the larger report, highlights concrete strategies for building more inclusive cities. And, there’s a great summary here by an NPR affiliate in Seattle.
- This study in the Journal of the Social Sciences (free, full text) provides evidence to support something we’ve known for a while – white families are major contributors to school segregation.
Hope you found something useful here. Let me know if there’s anything I missed.