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Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges [View All]

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-06-11 01:05 AM
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Merger of Memphis and County School Districts Revives Race and Class Challenges
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When thousands of white students abandoned the Memphis schools 38 years ago rather than attend classes with blacks under a desegregation plan fueled by busing, Joseph A. Clayton went with them. He quit his job as a public school principal to head an all-white private school and later won election to the board of the mostly white suburban district next door.

Now, as the overwhelmingly black Memphis school district is being dissolved into the majority-white Shelby County schools, Mr. Clayton is on the new combined 23-member school board overseeing the marriage. And he warns that the pattern of white flight could repeat itself, with the suburban towns trying to secede and start their own districts.

Theres the same element of fear, said Mr. Clayton, 79. In the 1970s, it was a physical, personal fear. Today the fear is about the academic decline of the Shelby schools.

As far as racial trust goes, Mr. Clayton, who is white, added, I dont think weve improved much since the 1970s.

The merger a result of actions by the Memphis school board and City Council, a March referendum and a federal court order is the largest school district consolidation in American history and poses huge logistical challenges. Memphis teachers are unionized, Shelby Countys are not; the county owns its yellow buses, the city relies on a contractor; and the two districts use different textbooks and different systems to evaluate teachers.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/education/merger-of-memphis-and-county-school-districts-revives-challenges.html?pagewanted=all

Hmm, the suburban teachers aren't unionized? I sorta get an uncomfortable feeling that mindless conservatives will tie unionization and school quality between inner city and suburbs. But what do you think will happen to the inner city schools when they're administered under an entire county district?
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