Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Verdict is In...But A New Battle Arises

A few weeks ago I blogged about the parent and student protests at a downtown Manhattan against the city's plans to allow a charter school to share their space while the charter school waits for their building's completion. Well it appears that the verdict came in, and on Friday afternoon the Mayor's office announced that the Ross school will not be moving into the building occupied by NEST--a public school in lower manhattan. Read the Times article(s) to develop your own conclusions on this matter, but I for one believe that it shows what capital, organization and a good media campaign can bring about.

Ironically, I spied the dispatch about the NEST parents victory while reading another article about the upcoming Supreme Court reviews of desegregation or racial inclusion policies of public school boards across the country. It seems that some conservative and anti-affirmative action groups are upset that some school boards are taking race into account when admitting students. They are angry that these school boards have the gall to make their classrooms, hallways, and lunchrooms look like the rest of the United States.

I will concede however, that I do agree with the conservatives and anti-affirmative action millitia that integrating predominantly white schools is not the ideal solution to solving the racial inequalities in our nation's public schools. Shuttling African-Asian-and-Latino-American students out of their districts does not negate the fact that there are underfunded schools in the districts that they students are shuttled out of. This is a particularly vexing situation for suburban and rural school communities where schools that are predominantly white are often lamenting their inability to attract and retain non-white students. The inability to solve or at least develop more sensible programs for public education at the k-12 level impacts attempts to alleviate racial disparities at the collegiate level---where sometimes the schools seem to be at even more of a loss on how to address these issues.

You won't find any answers here--at least not yet--but let's at promise to continue keeping an eye on these developments so as to make sure no one is caught off guard in the future. As always comments and links to relevant resources are always appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of stuff that Kozol is always talking about...and I still have to read it but his newest book, Shaming of the Nation, is supposed to address some of these same issues...