The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos

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Segregation now!

 

Higher suspension rates for black students!

 

Lower quality schools for Latinos!

 

These may sound like the campaign cries of George Wallace or Ross Barnett. But this isn’t the 1960s and it isn’t Alabama or Mississippi.

 

These are the cries of modern day charter school advocates – or they could be.

 

School choice boosters rarely if ever couch their support in these terms, but when touting charter schools over traditional public schools, this is exactly what they’re advocating.

 

According to the Civil Right Project at UCLA, “The charter school movement has been a major political success, but it has been a civil rights failure.”

 

It’s choice over equity.

 

Advocates have become so blinded by the idea of choice that they can’t see the poor quality of what’s being offered.

 

Because charter schools DO increase segregation. They DO suspend children of color at higher rates than traditional public schools. And they DO achieve academic outcomes for their students that are generally either comparable to traditional public schools or – in many cases – much worse.

 

In Brown vs. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is Unconstitutional to have “separate but equal” schools because when they’re separate, they’re rarely equal. Having two parallel systems of education makes it too easy to provide more resources to some kids and less to others.

 

Who would have ever thought that some minority parents would actually choose this outcome, themselves, for their own children!?

 

After Bloody Sunday, Freedom Rides, bus boycotts and countless other battles, a portion of minority people today somehow want more segregation!?

 

It’s hard to determine the extent of this odd phenomena. Charter advocates flood money into traditional civil rights organizations that until yesterday opposed school privatization. Meanwhile they hold up any examples of minority support as if it were the whole story. However, it is undeniable that large minority populations still oppose their school systems being charterized.

 

It’s especially troubling for civil rights advocates because black and brown charter supporters have been sold on an idea that could accurately be labeled Jim Crow. And they don’t even seem to know it.

 

The reason is two-fold: (1) the success of privatization propaganda and (2) the erosion of our public school system.

 

Charter schools are big business. Many of them are managed by huge corporations for a profit. They are run at taxpayer expense with little to no oversight. As you might expect, this often results in multi-million dollar financial scandals and worse outcomes for students. But these facts have not fazed some of the public. Propagandists know how to sell people on things that are bad for them: Fast food, miracle cures and charter schools.

 

They’ve marketed corporate McSchools as if these were mostly charitable institutions founded for the sole purpose of making children’s lives better. Meanwhile, funds that might actually help kids learn are funneled to hedge fund mangers and investors: Schools don’t open yet tax money disappears. Student services are reduced below that offered at comparable neighborhood public schools. Charter students are expelled for low test scores or special needs. Yet the public still buys the glossy full-color advertisement without bothering about the small print.

 

One thing corporate education reformers have over advocates of traditional public schools is their willingness to talk about race. They clothe their arguments in the terms of the Civil Rights movement. They talk about having high expectations for children of color. They talk about closing the achievement gap. They talk about understanding the needs of minority children.

 

It’s all bullshit.

 

Their “high expectations” are really just an excuse for treating brown and black kids as if they weren’t human. They put these children under intense pressure, berating them for wrong answers and kicking them out if they don’t perform.

 

Yet the academic results produced at charter schools are often less than stellar. Sometimes they’re downright abysmal. Instead of addressing the fundamental inequalities inherent in the achievement gap – economically and culturally biased high stakes testing, shoddy and developmentally inappropriate academic standards, etc. – they reinforce that status quo. It’s like instead of fighting a prohibition against sitting in the back of the bus, they berate black folks for not enjoying the ride.

 

I’m sorry. But when it comes to understanding the needs of black and Latino kids, I refuse to believe children of color need a second-class education system. (Just as I refuse to believe Teach for America’s claim that all black kids really need are less experienced, less educated and less committed teacher trainees.)

 

Perhaps if traditional public schools actually addressed these issues head on, privatizers wouldn’t appear to be saviors. There are real problems faced by children of color in our school systems. They have real needs that most of our schools – charter, traditional, private or parochial – just are not meeting. But while charter schools pay lip service to the problems without fixing them and in fact often making them worse, public schools pretend these problems don’t exist in the first place.

 

No wonder some minority parents choose charter schools. At least there they get the illusion that someone cares about their needs.

 

In fact, privatizers couldn’t sell their substandard products if it weren’t for what we’ve allowed to happen to our traditional public schools. Segregation is made worse in charter schools, but it is also prevalent at our traditional public schools – though often to a lesser degree.

 

We have allowed traditional public schools to be largely segregated based on parental income. We have schools for poor kids and schools for rich kids. Thus, we have schools for black kids and schools for white kids. And guess which ones are well-funded and which go lacking?

 

This is what people are really talking about when they mention “failing schools.” They pretend as if the teachers are failing, the principals are failing, the democratic process, itself, is failing. In reality, it is our state and federal lawmakers who are failing. They have failed to provide equitable resources that our nation’s children need.

 

Schools cost money. If you don’t provide the funding necessary to properly educate children, you will get an inferior result. Meanwhile, pundits play with numbers and make false comparisons to hide this basic fact – we aren’t providing all kids with the resources they need to succeed. Rich kids have enough. Poor kids don’t. But we look at national averages, add in unfunded legal mandates and pretend that tells the whole story.

 

How does this happen? Segregation. In fact, we’re allowing segregation of place to determine segregation of school. Instead of counteracting an unfair status quo, we’re letting the way things are today determine how things will be tomorrow.

 

Fact: people of different ethnicities tend to cluster together, like with like. Part of this is because people tend to self-segregate with people around whom they feel most comfortable. However, this is also a function of social planning. Banks tend to shy away from giving loans to families of color who want to move into white neighborhoods. Moreover, white homeowners are often reluctant to sell to families of color. The result is an America made up of black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods.

 

In organizing our public schools we could try to overcome these differences, but instead we amplify them. In many states we insist that schools be funded based on local property taxes. So poor brown and black people who happen to live clustered together get poorly funded schools for their kids. And rich white folks who live together in their gated communities get well-funded schools for their progeny.

 

Is it any wonder then that some people of color buy into the charter school lie? They’re offered the choice between an obviously under-resourced public school or a glossy new charter school that actually offers them less. But they don’t see that far. They’re tired of the indifference behind traditional public school funding and opt to try something different. Unfortunately, it’s just another lie and a more pernicious one for several reasons.

 

First, charter schools take an already segregated population and make it worse. Second, they weaken the already stumbling traditional public schools by siphoning off their dwindling funding. And finally, they obscure the fact that it’s often the same policymakers who champion charters that are responsible for eroding public schools in the first place.

 

People of color would be much better served by sticking with their traditional public schools and fighting to make them better. For all their faults, traditional public schools often provide a better quality education. They have more resources and less flexibility to take away those resources. They have more well-trained and experienced staff. And since they serve a more diverse population, they offer the chance for people of similar economic backgrounds but diverse cultures to join together in common cause.

 

Dividing people makes them weaker politically. When people band together, they have power. They can fight more effectively for what they deserve. Perhaps this is the greatest problem with charter schools – they destroy communities and rob neighborhoods of the collective power that is their due.

 

In many areas of the country, communities of color know this. Ask them in New Orleans what they think of their all-charter school district. Ask them in Chicago what they think of the city’s plan to close public schools and turn them into charters. Ask them in Philadelphia or any urban district taken over by the state.

 

They’ll tell you straight out how privatized education is cultural sabotage. They’ll tell you how it’s the new colonialism, another element of the new Jim Crow. They’ll tell you how important it is to fight for our system of public schools.

 

And when privatizers and propagandists try to paint all communities of color as if they support charter schools, these folks will loudly cry foul.

 

They aren’t buying the snake oil. The rest of us need to step up and help those who have been swindled to see the truth. Likewise we need to recognize their truth – that the struggle for civil rights is ongoing.

 

Because we can’t win the fight against privatization without them. And they can’t win the fight for equality without us.

 

We need each other.

 

Public school advocates need to recognize it’s not all about testing, Common Core and privatization. We can’t be so afraid to talk about race. We need to recognize that racism is not an unnecessary distraction, it’s at the center of our struggle.

 

We need communities of color.

 

We need our black and brown brothers and sisters.

 

Because only together shall we all overcome this madness.

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60 thoughts on “The Charter School Swindle – Selling Segregation to Blacks and Latinos

  1. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    This is THE blog post of the year. This IS what it is all about. This topic of race in education is coming up more and more. It’s important. We need to talk about it. While we don’t have the McCharters talked about in this article, I don’t think anyone could argue that charters have furthered segregation in Delaware. In fact, we have the exact opposite of what Mr. Singer is talking about in our biggest city: a charter school with 6% African-Americans and less than 1% students with disabilities. The ACLU filed a civil rights complaint a year and a half ago. The OCR got all the information a couple months later. Where is their report? It doesn’t take THAT long to see what is inherently wrong in some of our charters…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kevin, I would agree with you that it is an important, potentially helpful, blog post in respect to Delaware, but it appears that Steven overgeneralizes what may be found in that state, supporting his arguments with data and opinions that are unpersuasive in key respects.

      Steven, you write: “Because charter schools DO increase segregation. They DO suspend children of color at higher rates than traditional public schools. And they DO achieve academic outcomes for their students that are generally either comparable to traditional public schools or – in many cases – much worse.”

      And you support that with three links. The first re: segregation is to a report about Delaware where, according to an ACLU complaint, admissions requirements, “include high examination scores, essays written by parents to explain why a school is a good choice for their child, access to gifted and talented elementary and middle school programs that help increase academic performance, annual activities fees, mandatory parent involvement and mandatory high-cost uniform purchases”

      Would you say that such requirements are typical or atypical for charter schools? I’d suggest the latter. As you likely know, according to Matt Chingos at Brookings: “Does Expanding School Choice Increase Segregation?”:
      “There is actually a slight positive (and statistically significant) relationship between choice and diversity, but it is very weak… The lack of any consistent relationship between charter enrollment and segregation does not eliminate the possibility that such a relationship exists, but suggests that it is unlikely.”
      https://www.brookings.edu/research/does-expanding-school-choice-increase-segregation/

      In respect to suspension rates, you rely a study by Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California that compared charter schools to all school throughout the United States. Do you think that that is a more appropriate methodology than comparing each charter school with traditional public schools (TPS) in the same general locale?

      According to Nat Malkus who used the latter approach:
      “Compared to their neighboring TPSs, more charters have lower suspension rates than reference TPSs. Unbridled discipline policies are problematic in any school, but the idea that charter schools suspend students more than traditional public schools do is a myth.”
      https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Differences-on-balance.pdf

      In respect to academic outcomes, you link to a Washington Post article about a 2013 study by the CREDO group at Stanford. I’m not sure that for you to state that some charter schools do worse than traditional public schools, without mentioning that some also do considerably better makes sense.

      And if you look at the CREDO study itself, you find:
      ““White students fare worse on average in charter schools than in their local TPS in both reading and math while Asian charter students had weaker growth in math. In contrast, students in the following subgroups received significantly more days of learning each year in charters than their virtual twin in TPS:
      ♦ Students in Poverty (both reading and math)
      ♦ English Language Learner Students (both reading and math)
      ♦ Black Students (both reading and math)
      ♦ Black Students in poverty (both reading and math)
      ♦ Hispanic Students in Poverty (both reading and math)
      ♦ Hispanic English Language Learner Students (both reading and math)
      ♦ Special Education Students (math only)”

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      • As Education Historian Diane Ravitch replied to your comment on her blog: “Actually, Stephen, there are many sources for the higher suspension rates of charters. In Washington, DC, for example, charters were suspending kids at 72 times the rate of public schools. That from the Washington Post.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keep in mind that, unlike many of her readers, my comments at Ravitch’s site are peer-reviewed by an extremely productive and busy historian of education with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and they increasingly frequently don’t appear… the lady has standards.

        My very prompt response to Diane was:

        “I think you’re recalling the 2011-2012 school year, when DC charter schools had an expulsion rate of 72 per 10,000 compared to 1 per 10,000 for traditional public schools (the latter had a much higher rate of long-term… more than 10-day… suspensions).
        “Anyway, rest ever so slightly assured, in the years since then expulsion rates have been declining faster at charter than at traditional public schools.”

        Even if the findings that Diane alluded to from DC were up to date and in fact related to suspensions, shouldn’t it take more than a smattering of geographically dispersed evidence to compete with a national study like the one by Malkus?

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  2. Great summary of all the things wrong with charter schools. I wish there was a way to get through this message to charter supporters. I feel like there’s so much pro-charter information out there that posts like these end up preaching to the choir.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure I really agree with this article. Up until this year, my 2 kids were in a private school. We decided to do public school this year and yes, as mentioned in your article, we live in a majority African-American community. We are in 1 of the higher-end communities, but our school is a Title I school. I could not be more disappointed in the education that my children are getting. We do NOT have more experienced teachers; the best teachers, unfortunately, don’t want to come down to our side of town. So we have lots of new, young teachers.

    I just bought a bunch of homeschooling materials recently, because I will be educating my own children after school and on the weekend, because I don’t trust what they will get during the day.

    I don’t agree with the notion that charters have developmentally inappropriate standards, well at least not as compared to our regular public school. Common Core is a nightmare and if you live in a state that adopted this crap, then all the public AND charter schools must teach to the exact same standards. Charters do not provide the freedom to self-select their standards.

    I am hoping to get my kids into a charter – either a state chartered school or at least 1 where the teachers actually enter grades on time so that I can monitor my children’s progress. We do have 2 locally authorized charters, both fairly new, and they are beating the brakes off our traditional public schools that SHOULD (presumably) have their crap together after decades of operation. 1 of these charters is pretty much all black with some whites and Hispanics, much like the regional area that it serves. I do not see them kicking out black students; that’s the bulk of their student body! The other charter is a good mix of ethnicities. And I have never heard of anyone being kicked out.

    They have better behavior and better performance than any of the elementary/middle school options in the regular public system.

    We have to be careful about making sweeping judgments about anything or any institution, because at the end of the day, it gets down to the local level. I hate that the local public schools lose that revenue to charters, but I do not trust the public school system to properly educate my children at all so why should my money go to supporting them?

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    • I’m sorry that your one year of public school has soured you on the entire enterprise. May I suggest that this isn’t nearly enough information to disparage our national public school system? Moreover, I wish I knew what exactly was so terrible about the experience. Where exactly is this district? It is true that many urban districts find it hard to put the most experienced teachers in the most challenging settings. That is something we need to change. Many of the problems you mention are the results of under-resourced schools everywhere. Removing yourself from the system may help your own children, but it will not fix it. We need caring parents like you to refuse to give up. We need to fight – not just for our own children – but for all children. My neighborhood public school is not perfect either. Neither is the school where I teach. But I am proud to be a part of both communities. I wish more people were willing to fight to better the system instead of fleeing it.

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      • It is interesting to suggest that parents should stay in and fight for change at low performing schools in their neighborhoods. Why should parents in low income communities have to fight for better schools if other options exist? Why should their children suffer in these schools while they “fight” and “demand” a better education? To be honest, if there are better options for my children’s education, I am going to go with that option. A way to bring change is to vote with our feet. If low performing schools want my student, they should have to prove to me that they can provide an education that is better than other schools. We don’t go to low performing doctor’s, stay with them and demand that they get better. We choose better doctor’s. If you want our kids, prove it by providing quality education. Seriously, who would sacrifice their children and their futures, to fight for better school’s in your area? I think it is ridiculous to tell a parent that they should fight and make the schools better. Change takes time, and I am not willing to sacrifice my children in the time that it takes for low performing neighborhood schools to change. At the end of the day, this is about choice and opportunity. People who are poor are told to fight for change, while rich people don’t get penalized or demonized for paying for their children to go to private schools that may provide better opportunity. I’ll be down with getting rid of charters as a choice for those in low income neighborhoods when we out law private education as well.

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      • But the charter schools do not do a better job. In many cases they do much worse. And there “low performing schools” is a marketing term passed off on you by school privatizers. The public schools are actually under-resources. It’s your tax money. Fight for it to go where it belongs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the mitigating factor here some people in our society don’t want others sects of the population to have certain opportunities. They want me to suffer while districts haggle through bureaucracy and red tape but they invoke choice all the while. Appreciate you giving your thoughts to the conversation

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    • Where I live the minority is approximately 70% over a four county area. Since they make up the administrations of the public schools the charter schools and the private schools explain how your complaint works. The makeup of all the schools in the four counties are 70% or higher minority.

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      • Your schools are already segregated. The question is – are your charter schools more or less segregated than your public schools? Also are you certain your charter schools are run by people of color? That’s kind of a rarity.

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      • Steven that’s the reason you should ask questions and do your own research. I have an idea since you want to write about needing more black teachers. Do a story about charter schools ran by people of color. I think you will find that they do better than most. I am going to help you out with a lead. Check out InspireNOLA charter schools in New Orleans. Do the ground work. I have more success stories when your serious. Side note, integration was bad for black folk

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      • In my general experience, if a charter school is more segregated than a public school, the folks arguing against charter schools will condemn the charter as an “apartheid school”. If the charter is less segregated than a public school, the folks arguing against charter schools will condemn the charter for discriminating against minority students. My conclusion from this has been that in general segregation is not the real reason that folks object to charter schools.

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    • Lamont, you told me second hand research was bogus. If I look up info about your charter school, you will only say it is invalid just as you dismissed all of the hundreds of links already in the article.

      Teaching Economist, you have a point. Charter schools increase segregation in the two ways you outline. I don’t know why it is somehow unfair to ask public schools – including charter schools since they are run with public money – to be representative of the communities they serve. Like the Supreme Court of this nation ruled in Brown v. Board, I still believe segregation is harmful. You are free to disagree.

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      • Steven,

        Expecting one or two schools to have exactly the same SES profile as a district seems to me to be too high a bar to set. After all, despite the very best efforts of NYC Public, PS 321 (where Dr. Ravitch’s is so proud that her grandchildren attend) has the following demographics: 75% white students, 8% Hispanic, 7% Asian, and 5% African American. There are 8% of students eligible for a free lunch, and 2% of students are English language learners. How well does this school reflect the demographics of NYC Public?

        I look forward to your post condemning the madness of PS 321 (and of course, most of the other traditional public school in the city of New York, see https://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/ny-norflet-report-placeholder/Kucsera-New-York-Extreme-Segregation-2014.pdf)!

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      • Teaching economist, please don’t oversimplify my comment to a straw man. I’m not talking about one or two schools. I’m talking about the general trend of charter schools nationwide. I see that as a problem. Moreover, my article already decries how segregated our traditional public schools are – it’s just that charter schools take a bad situation and make them worse.

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    • As a mother I gree with you completely. Caveat: depending on your locale you may have to watch the school like a hawk. Many states have lax or nil fin audit reqts, so watch it if there’s a change of guard. But in general I agree: tho I loathe the destruction of public schools via vouchers & charters, it may be just the bandaid you need for the decade or so your kids are in K-12. There will be time to fight the good fight for the improvement of local publics later.

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  4. Another point:

    We live where we can afford to and that allows us to have the type of house that we wanted. So our local public school is already “segregated”. Segregation exists within the traditional public school system already, because the government school system dictates that your kids go to school where you live. So whether mine stay at our local public or a locally-approved charter, they will be segregated anyway. The only way around this is to get them into a state-chartered school or pay for private. I don’t see how charters are any more segregated than our regular traditional public schools.

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    • Or you could fight for your neighborhood school – which is funded by local, state and federal tax dollars – to abide by Brown Vs. Board. You could address your lawmakers, local PTSA, school board, etc. You could take action as is your right in a Democracy. If more people did that, we would have less segregation. But it’s easier said than done.

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  5. YES. I have seen the poorest and most often non-white parents in our large, inner-city district being ever more seduced and solicited by school reformers (reformers simply going for more governmental or phiantrhocapitalist money) in the name of “fixing” their low-scoring students — only to see their neighborhoods then divided and communities fighting against one another as public school options wane. Ultimately, the poorest and most often non-white populations are simply systematically forced completely out of the now re-gentrifying area.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Epic fail Sir. Maybe I am mislead because I have been out of high school for 25 years but I thought generally if you speak about a section of the population then you secure a quote backing your rhetoric. You mentioned New Orleans several times. I a working father who advocates for the brilliant children of this city find it offensive that you neglected to garner any quotes validating your insinuations. Start over because this story is disrespectful. Hey did you think because Roots is playing that mentioning Jim Crow and Civil Rights would garner you some lost souls.

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      • Links only bring me to other stories. I am a parent advocate so you know I’m not that foolish. One shouldn’t talk about anyone without firsthand knowledge. If you want to talk about New Orleans holla at me, but don’t go off of or rely on secondhand information. You can’t talk for people. That’s why this article has no validity

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      • I’m sorry, but by that logic one can never know anything of which one doesn’t have firsthand knowledge. That seems a bit ridiculous. There is plenty of evidence that the all charter district of New Orleans is a disaster. Moreover, I have personally met several parents with children in the schools there who are very upset with what has happened.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I would have thought that this was the perfect time to comment on the efforts the state on Missouri made to stuff the students of color back into the Normandy school district. Do you agree with the state on Missouri that the students should be forced back into their school district or the students and their families who sued to be allowed to continue to attend schools outside the district?

    This was extensively reported on, but my favorite reports were the two part series by The American Life called The Problem We All Live With (http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with)

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  8. Reblogged at IntegratedSchools.org!

    Thanks for this, Steven. The story of our shame –our worsening segregation – is one we need to face head on. Articles like yours are desperately needed…

    We can blame charters and banks and realtors and policymakers and ChickenLittlers for our segregated schools (and we should!) – but we also have to blame ourselves as parents.

    It is high time that we place a SPECIFIC VALUE ON INTEGRATION. Until we parents invest our children and our loud voices in integrated schools, this trend is likely to only strengthen. While we can talk policymaking all day (and I suspect we would be in agreement all day), until we have parents actively and intentionally CHOOSING socioeconomically integrated schools, we will hit wall upon wall upon wall.

    But it’s tricky. And it’s tricky for a thousand reasons. And one of the most ironic reasons is that the more we segregate, the more we are likely to segregate. Distance begets discomfort begets distance. (More on fear/schools here Yes, You CAN be too Careful [https://integratedschools.org/2016/01/04/you-can-be-too-careful-the-narrative-of-vulnerability-and-terrorism/] )

    You rightly point out that oftentimes charters do worse by kids – better by making parents ‘feel’ more heard though worse in actually educating students. So, then we public school integrationists need a much better marketing campaign. A lot more and a lot better stories about schools with high concentrations of poverty, perhaps…?

    And we need to be louder and clearer about why integration is important BOTH for country and your individual kid.

    And we need to not shy away from the actual and really shitty problems that come with integration.

    Weirdly, I think we are at a particularly good time for making this work… (more on that to come soon at my blog…. If I can ever finish writing it….)

    Like

      • Steve do you live in Neverland. An article even with some quotes can’t begin to equal the conversations I, a black man, have had with my elders. The elders who speak of greatly functioning neighborhoods with stores, doctors, lawyers, nurses, etc. Highways have been placed to destroy flourishing black neighborhoods. Steve I come from and live in New Orleans where Interstate 10 was used to destroy the Treme neighborhood. That’s right the oldest black neighborhood in America that is now being gentrified. Your white privilege and arrogance is numbing to your thoughts. You have an article and I have the knee of an elder. I have firsthand knowledge of New Orleans school system and you have second hand info. Get with me I’ll help you out
        Ljdouglas1@yahoo.com

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      • Lamont, you will have a hard time convincing me that Brown vs Board was a bad decision. Frankly, I’m surprised that you’re trying. (By the way, gentrification is not integration. It’s a product of segregation.) I work in a public school serving mostly poor children of color. I have my own experiences, too. Moreover, I’ve listened to people from across the country who are mostly telling me the same thing. For instance, here is New Orleans parent Karen Harper Royal on the horrors of the all-charter district there:
        http://thericksmithshow.podbean.com/mobile/e/karran-harper-royal-shares-her-horror-story-in-privatepublic-schools-of-new-orleans/

        Liked by 1 person

      • “integration has hurt black people and low or no income demographics. Especially economically and educationally”

        Evidence (from the guy who doesn’t accept evidence) would be nice, Lamont. But I won’t hold my breath.

        Steven, one thing worth adding that is vital to your “stay in the local public schools and fight to improve them” argument: the local public schools have to stop treating parents who want to know what’s going on in those schools as enemies, fools, or both. And parents have to stop BEING enemies, fools, or both. As someone who has worked with math teachers in high-needs schools in Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Warren, Ypsilanti, and NYC, I have seen both sides of that coin, to my frustration and embarrassment. But if you think about the context (capitalism finding ways to take away resources from the neediest, then putting insane artificial pressure on those schools being deprived via high-stakes testing insanity), it’s not hard to fathom why there is much mutual antipathy and not a lot of “we’re in this mess together” between parents and schools in such places. Throw in the despicable bribery from the charters being dangled to parents for getting their kids’ fannies into charters long enough for the latter to collect state $$$ (after which many are tossed back to those already-underfunded neighborhood public schools) and you have the makings of a perfect storm. And as if that weren’t enough, look at the recent kickback scandal in Detroit, where educated, middle-class black principals stole money from the very kids they were supposed to be helping, the poorest, least-served minority kids of inner-city Detroit! The state legislature was THRILLED to have that excuse to refuse better funding and the return of control of the schools to the local community. Talk about a truly heinous crime in which everyone who possibly can conspires or collaborates in the further kicking of those already down.

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      • Wait are you asking a black man in America who has sat down and talk with his elders and who has heard stories of a time when black folk didn’t have to go outside of their neighborhoods for anything to give you proof that segregation was bad for black people. Your arrogance is very unbecoming. I don’t have to justify or verify my experience in america. Especially not with what you would call evidence. My grandmother and grandfather accounts are a nuff fo me. You mad boy

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      • Well, now, Lamont, see there’s this expression – “No one knows you’re a dog on the Internet.” And a corollary of that might well be: “No one knows IF you’re black on the Internet.”

        So my “arrogance,” as you put it, might also be called “skepticism.” I haven’t the first idea who you are, whether your claimed experiences are genuine or invented, and so when you make a bold claim about (essentially) all black people being hurt by integrations, I would like to see warrants for that claim, and to be honest, NOT anecdotes from you, your grandparents, or anyone else you aren’t able to document.

        But on top of that, you previously wrote here, and I quote you directly, that INTEGRATION hurt black people. Now you write that SEGREGATION hurt black people (which I would NEVER dispute; and by the way, it hurts white people, too, for a host of reasons).

        So which are you arguing? I’m not about to try to “win” an argument with someone who makes a 180-degree reversal of his position and acts as if he’s saying the same thing both times. You’ll pardon me if I find the totality of what you’ve offered here less than credible. So no, I’m not arrogant; I’m not mad. I’m simply not buying your original claim and never made the second one. When you figure out what it is you’re actually arguing, let us all know and maybe we can go from there. But a black man arguing that integration hurts black people? The only people I know who make that argument are Black Nationalists (who are few and far between) and white racists.

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  9. […] It is a tremendous victory for parents, children and teachers everywhere. And a much needed win for civil rights and education activists. The civil rights community (including the Black Lives Matter movement) is starting to acknowledge that Brown vs. Board is right – we cannot have “separate but equal” school systems because when they’re separate, they’re ra…. […]

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