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Saturday, October 15, 2011

SYSK: Charter schools bring back segregation

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided two major school busing cases (Meredith vs. Jefferson County Board of Education and People Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District No.1 et. al), striking down any school assignment plan using race as a tie-breaker. The 5-4 decision said student assignment policies could be “race-conscious” but could not take an individual student’s race into account. Many school desegregation advocates fear that the Court’s decision will intensify rapidly resegregating schools and worsen educational inequities between low- and high-income communities.

The hidden stories here are that charter schools are speeding up the re-segregation process, despite these court rulings and that class matters even more than race. The argument for desegregation in Brown vs Board of Education was that separate was inherently unequal; therefore, stop segregating. However, even when schools were desegregated by race, they were still heavily segregated by class, with higher income schools having higher graduation rates and sending more kids to four year universities. Wealthier parents tend to live in wealthier neighborhoods, thus concentrating their wealth in a few schools. When their kids aren’t automatically assigned to the desired school, they are more likely than lower income parents to have the time, connections and understanding of the system to fight for their kids’ placement in their desired schools. When they can’t get into the desired public schools (or when there are no desired public schools) they have the wealth to send their kids to elite private schools.

From the blog Modern School, by Michael Dunn

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