Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Integration, ending with a national whimper.

Amina writes on the re-segregation vote in Wake County, NC public schools:

Wake County, NC’s school board voted to end their integration scheme. Their income -based approach was targeted to keep students from low income households to below 40% in a school. Students were bused to achieve greater diversity.  Though the 40% mark was not always met, it’s been viewed as a success in increasing racial and income diversity.

It Spreads
Backtracking on integration is a trending upward. Raleigh, NC, Charlotte, NC, have also turned and the efforts continue. The funny thing is that proponents aren’t really arguing that Black and Brown children will fare better with re-segregation. Given outcomes for students of color in high poverty school – not even Republicans (who’ve tended to vote for re-segregation) can argue that with a straight face. In Raleigh, NC, where integration efforts were put to an end by a Republican school board, the chair said, “we’ve diluted the problem so we can ignore it.” Re-segregation was the solution. Yes, let’s isolate the most underserved. It’ll make us serve them better. Sure thing.

The basic message is we just don’t want to be bothered anymore. It’s unnecessary. It costs too much and we’re tired of it. The results will soon follow. In Charlotte, NC, after reversal of its integration efforts in 2002, has found concentrations of poor black students mounting.

So Old School
Integration. It sounds so old school. Like afro puffs and roller skates. As districts end concerted efforts for diversity, we see that old terms have present day value. In our post-race, post-racist, post-reality era, we’ve left the integration hen house unattended. With protests, sit-ins, boycotts, Supreme Court cases, and historic legislation; integration came in with a national bang. Well, it’s going out with a whimper. With residents protesting at school board meetings, and local NAACP chapters trying to get traction in the courts--but without national debate. 

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