Sunday, July 15, 2007

NYTimes: School Diversity Based on Income Segregates Some

Following the recent anti-integration decision by the Supreme Court many school districts will be moving toward plans that emphasize economic diversity over racial diversity. The NYTimes ran an interesting piece about these plans. The result? Increased re-segregation. From the article:

"San Francisco began considering factors like family income, instead of race, in school assignments when it modified a court-ordered desegregation plan in response to a lawsuit. But school officials have found that the 55,000-student city school district, with Chinese the dominant ethnic group followed by Hispanics, blacks and whites, is resegregrating."

"The number of schools where students of a single racial or ethnic group make up 60 percent or more of the population in at least one grade is increasing sharply. In 2005-06, about 50 schools were segregated using that standard as measured by a court-appointed monitor. That was up from 30 schools in the 2001-02 school year, the year before the change, according to court filings."

To read the full report, go to:

NYTimes: School Diversity Based on Income Segregates Some


  1. It's worrying to see that segregation is on the rise, seems like so much progress is slowly being pissed away. But is this really necessary..?

    To achieve a balance of low- and middle-income children, the district encourages and sometimes requires students to attend schools far from home.

    Imagine your child gets a letter from the principal, "Sorry, your kid can't attend here any more. There's a school 30 miles away in desperate need of white children to keep an adequate balance." Seems kinda silly.

    Maybe it's not school segregation that's the problem but rather housing segregation? Maybe the government should focus more on diversifying housing? Here in Finland the cities do a very good job of this, each neighborhood always has its share of lower-income public housing.

  2. I definitely admit to not being a scholar of education policy and economics, but I think that it's a dead end to argue for integration for its own sake.

    I think rather than focus on integration per se, the focus needs to be on school funding. As long as US Schools are predominantly funded based on property tax, there will be inequities.

    If schools were funded equitably, would "separate but equal" be a possibility?

    Besides, frankly, if schools were funded equitably, I think you'd see better housing integration. In American cities, one of the primary reasons that wealthy young parents leave the city for suburbs is to provide better education for their kids.

  3. On a sidetrack, I recently watched Machuca, a movie which has to do with economic integration of schools, albeit in 1973 Chile just before the junta.
    It's a good movie that deserves to be better known. The above link is to Netflix, so add it to your queue.

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