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Joe BidenCongratulations to our presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden!

Response to SouthernProgressive (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 2, 2019, 07:49 AM

16. bussing worked, some major areas still do it, and even fucked up, some places now bus to actually


re-segregate. A poster in NC told me that most all the white kids in his neighbourhood (who live right very, very near to a giant almost all black high school) are bussed to a far away mostly all white public high school.

'Forced busing' didn't fail. Desegregation is the best way to improve our schools.



Since the Reagan administration’s “A Nation at Risk” report pronounced that schools across the country were failing, every president has touted a new plan to close the racial academic achievement gap: President Obama installed Race to the Top; George W. Bush had No Child Left Behind; and Clinton pushed Goals 2000. The nation has commissioned studies, held conferences and engaged in endless public lamentation over how to get poor students and children of color to achieve at the level of wealthy white students — as if how to close this opportunity gap was a mystery. But we forget that we’ve done it before. Racial achievement gaps were narrowest at the height of school integration.

U.S. schools have become more segregated since 1990, and students in major metropolitan areas have been most severely divided by race and income, according to the University of California at Los Angeles’s Civil Rights Project. Racially homogenous neighborhoods that resulted from historic housing practices such as red-lining have driven school segregation. The problem is worst in the Northeast — the region that, in many ways, never desegregated — where students face some of the largest academic achievement gaps: in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, federal education policies still implicitly accept the myth of “separate but equal,” by attempting to improve student outcomes without integrating schools. Policymakers have tried creating national standards, encouraging charter schools, implementing high-stakes teacher evaluations and tying testing to school sanctions and funding. These efforts sought to make separate schools better but not less segregated. Ending achievement and opportunity gaps requires implementing a variety of desegregation methods – busing, magnet schools, or merging school districts, for instance – to create a more just public education system that successfully educates all children.

Public radio’s “This American Life” reminded us of this reality in a two-part report this summer, called “The Problem We All Live With.” The program noted that, despite declarations that busing to desegregate schools failed in the 1970s and 1980s, that era actually saw significant improvement in educational equity. When the National Assessment of Educational Progress began in the early 1970s, there was a 53-point gap in reading scores between black and white 17-year-olds. That chasm narrowed to 20 points by 1988. During that time, every region of the country except the Northeast saw steady gains in school integration. In the South in 1968, 78 percent of black children attended schools with almost exclusively minority students; by 1988, only 24 percent did. In the West during that period, the figure declined from 51 percent to 29 percent.

But since 1988, when education policy shifted away from desegregation efforts, the reading test score gap has grown — to 26 points in 2012 — with segregated schooling increasing in every region of the country.

Research has shown that integration is a critical factor in narrowing the achievement gap. In a 2010 research review, Harvard University’s Susan Eaton noted that racial segregation in schools has such a severe impact on the test score-gap that it outweighs the positive effects of a higher family income for minority students. Further, a 2010 study of students’ improvements in math found that the level of integration was the only school characteristic (vs. safety and community commitment to math) that significantly affected students’ learning growth. In an analysis of the landmark 1966 “Coleman Report,” researchers Geoffrey Borman and Maritza Dowling determined that both the racial and socioeconomic makeups of a school are 1¾-times more important in determining a student’s educational outcomes than the student’s own race, ethnicity or social class.


The City That Believed in Desegregation. Integration isn't easy, but Louisville, Kentucky, has decided that it's worth it



The Supreme Court decided against Jefferson County, ruling in favor of a parent who argued that her son’s bus ride was too long. But in the years since, the district has found other creative ways of keeping its schools diverse. Today, the Louisville area is one of the few regions in the country that still buses students among urban and suburban neighborhoods. Jefferson County Public Schools is 49 percent white, 37 percent black, and 14 percent Latino and other ethnic and racial groups.

The county, which borders Indiana on the south, spreads across 400 square miles and encompasses census tracts in which more than half of the population lives below the poverty level, and tracts in which less than 10 percent does. But there are no struggling inner-city schools here—the city and county schools are under the same district, and the most sought-after high school within it, duPont Manual, is located near downtown.

Indeed, it could be argued that Louisville, an economically vibrant city in a highly conservative and segregated state, is a success today in large part because of its integrated schools and the collaborations among racial and economic groups that have come as a result. “Our PTA president will drive downtown into neighborhoods she probably would not have gone to, to pick up kids to bring to her house for sleepovers,” said Jessica Rosenthal, the principal at Hawthorne Elementary. “I just don’t know how likely that is to happen in a normal school setting.”


The integration plan in Jefferson County and Louisville might not be perfect, but the very fact that the region is still trying to work together and provide equal opportunity to all of its students makes it stand out, said Gary Orfield, of the Civil Rights Project. When most other regions have given up, or fought integration plans with every resource, Louisville has continued to strive for diversity. In 2012, for example, half of the 14 candidates running for Jefferson County School Board ran on a platform of replacing the school-assignment policy with one that would have let students attend their neighborhood schools. All seven candidates were defeated at the polls

That conscious commitment to diversity indicates that Louisville is still thinking about how to try and make things fair, Orfield said. “School integration was never meant to be the only solution, but it is it is an essential and necessary element, they’ve at least kept that going, in spite of all kinds of problems over the years,” Orfield said. “They believe it works, not perfectly but a lot better than the alternatives.” It’s possible that commitment to diversity is a result of the integration that was forced on the region, in the 1970s. Now, people who grew up in integrated schools want the same for their children.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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