How important is "resegregation?"

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

Our review of a slippery concept: Connectivity is hard!

As our connectivity struggles continue, we'll review a current topic and do no more today. Our question:

How important is "resegregation," a topic which has come center stage in reviews of the Brown decision.

Yesterday, we discussed this topic on The Marc Steiner Show. Today, we'll discuss the question here, focusing on this recent piece by Slate's Jamelle Bouie.

Bouie tied his piece to the 60th anniversary of Brown. The headlines on it said this:
Still Separate and Unequal
Why American schools are becoming segregated once again.
Are American public schools "becoming segregated once again?" It all depends on what you mean by a term like "segregation." Let's look at what Bouie said in the heart of his piece:
BOUIE (5/15/14): As Nikole Hannah-Jones details for ProPublica, federal desegregation orders helped “break the back of Jim Crow education in the South, helping transform the region’s educational systems into the most integrated in the country.” She continues, “In 1963, about 1 percent of black children in the South attended school with white children. By the early 1970s, the South had been remade—fully 90 percent of black children attended desegregated schools.”

The problem today is that these gains are reversing. As the Civil Rights Project shows, minority students across the country are more likely to attend majority-minority schools than they were a generation ago.
We don't know exactly what Hannah-Jones means in that first highlighted passage. Does she mean that 90 percent of black students in the South were "attending school with white children" at that historical juncture?

We're not sure, but the question doesn't affect the manin point Bouie makes in that passage: "minority students across the country are more likely to attend majority-minority schools than they were a generation ago."

That statement is basically true, no matter how you slice the data. That said, an important fact gets omitted here—the American student population has massively changed in the period under review.

In just the past twenty years, the student population has gone from roughly 70 percent white to roughly 50 percent white. It shouldn't be surprising if a higher percentage of kids attend majority-minoity schools under that changed circusmtance.

For what it's with, there's nothing automatically "wrong" with attending a majority-minorty school. We have a young relative who attends such a school, and she effusively loves it.

That said, we shouldn't discuss this general topic without noting the overall change in the student population. We have a lot more "minority students" than was once the case. Presumably, all the changes discussed in Bouie's piece are affected by that fact.

At any rate, it's true that many minority kids are attending majority-minority schools. As he continued, Bouie offered some statistics. We were struck by one comparison he offered, and by one term he used:
BOUIE (continuing directly): The average white student, for instance, attends a school that’s 73 percent white, 8 percent black, 12 percent Latino, and 4 percent Asian-American. By contrast, the average black student attends a school that’s 49 percent black, 17 percent Latino, 4 percent Asian-American, and 28 percent white. And the average Latino student attends a school that’s 57 percent Latino, 11 percent black, 25 percent white, and 5 percent Asian-American.

But this understates the extent to which minority students—and again blacks in particular—attend hyper-segregated schools. In 2011, more than 40 percent of black students attended schools that were 90 percent minority or more. That marks an increase over previous years. In 1991, just 35 percent of black students attended schools with such high levels of segregation.
There are several ways to measure the degree of "segregation" (racial imbalance) in our public schools. Using one of the basic measures, Bouie notes that 35 percent of black kids attended schools which werE at least 90 percent minority in 1991. Today, he says the figure is 40 percent.

We'll be honest—that strikes us as a fairly small change, given the overall change in student population we described above. You might want to black kids attending schools with more racial balance; we'd be inclined to agree about that. But the change which Bouie cites doesn't seem especially large, given the overall change in demographics.

Beyond that, we were struck by the use of the term "hyper-segregated" school. Here's why:

In 1954, a school which was 90 percent black and ten percent white would have had a different name; iit woukd have been called "integrated." Had that school been in the South, rioting would have occurred.

In those days, a school had to be entirely black just to be called "segregated." Today, if a school is 90 percent black, we call it hyper-segregated!

In such ways, we may perhaps gin up our language to keep old fights and movements alive. When we do this, we may sometimes distract ourselves from larger, current struggles.

As Bouie continued, he talked about changes in enrollment patterns in different regions. At this point, the time has come to talk about the real world:
BOUIE (continuing directly): Even more striking is the regional variation. While hyper-segregation has increased across the board, it comes after staggering declines in the South, the “border states”—Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, i.e., former slaveholding states that never joined the Confederacy—the Midwest, and the West. In the Northeast, however, school segregation has increased, going from 42.7 percent in 1968 to 51.4 percent in 2011. Or, put another way, desegregation never happened in the schools of the urban North.
In one sense, it's clearly true: "desegregation" of the type addressed by Brown didn't happen in the urban North. Brown was not an attempt to address the kinds of racial imbalance in schools which were caused by housing patterns. It addressed legal separation, in which kids were (for example) forbidden to attend their own neighborhood schools on the basis of race.

It's true! Many black kids in the North attend school with few white classmates, or with none at all. The reason for this may become clear when we considre the student demographics of these large public school systems in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Here are the relevant enrollment figures. Simply put, you can't produce racially balanaced schools in big school districts like these:
Baltimore City Public Schools
Black students: 71,762
Hispanic students: 4,452
White students: 6,749

Prince George's County (Md.) Schools
Black students: 81,786
Hispanic students: 29,904
White students: 5,597

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS only)
Black students: 71 percent
Hispanic students: 15 percent
White students: 10 percent
You can't produce racially balanced schools in big school districts like these.

We can call the schools in these districts "hyper-segregated" if we like. But children in these big school systems will be attending majority minority schools long into the future.

Children in our big urban districts will not be attending racially balanced schools any time soon. On balance, we would prefer that this wasn't the case.

But our schools will be unbalanced. To the extent that we ignore this fact or dream about better worlds, we tend to skip past a very large current problem:

How do we serve these hundreds of thousands of kids when they show up for the first day of school? Our question takes on added meaning as Bouie continues:
BOUIE (continuing directly): Today in New York, for instance, 64.6 percent of black students attend hyper-segregated schools. In New Jersey, it’s 48.5 percent and in Pennsylvania it’s 46 percent. They’re joined by Illinois (61.3 percent), Maryland (53.1 percent), and Michigan (50.4 percent). And these schools are distinctive in another way: More than half have poverty rates above 90 percent. By contrast, just 1.9 percent of schools serving whites and Asians are similarly impoverished.
Making things worse, Bouis says that more than half these schools have poverty rates above 90 percent!

Bouie would like it better if our school enrollments looked different. On balance, we feel the same way. And without question, the challenges facing these big urban schools are magnified when we consider issues of income. Lots of kids in these schools come from low-income, low-literacy backgrounds. How do we involve these kids in the culture of literacy? How do we serve them best?

Alas! When people focus on issues of "resegregation," they may tend to skip past such basic questions. Here's the problem:

Hundreds of thousands of deserving kids in big urban systems will be attending school next year. Inevitably, their schools will often be low-income, majority minority schools.

We can dream about racial balance as much as we like. But those schools will not be racially balanced any time soon. On the other hand, deserving kids will be in their seats:

What do we do to serve them? How do we serve them best?

One final point: We're fairly sure that Bouie's figure about poverty rates is wrong. Even after reviewing his cource, we'll guess he's talking about the percentage of kids who qualify for free or reduced price lunch. That isn't a measure of poverty.

We note that fact for a reason. Bouie took his lead in this piece from anti-resegregation scholars. These advocates may have the best intentions. But they also may tend to jack up their language and their data to heighten our sense of the plight they prefer to address.

We've taught in the Baltimore City Schools; our values are somewhat different. We want to know what those systems will be doing to serve their students next September.

They will be running majority minority schools with majority minority classrooms. Those classrooms will be full of American kids.

What will happen in those classrooms? In our view, it's shameful to see how very rarely that question gets discussed.

77 comments:

  1. You know, a little context would be nice. I'd like to know the historic demographics of those three DC area school districts, so we might have some basis for discussing when and where the white families went and why.

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    1. Eugene Robinson provides an extensive discussion of the changes in DC neighborhoods and the shift to Prince Georges County, MD, including gentrification and an influx of white residents to historically black DC neighborhoods and the influx of African immigrants to DC and black flight to suburbs. His book is DisIntegration: The Splintering of Black America. Of course, there is also the good old census.

      http://www.amazon.com/Disintegration-The-Splintering-Black-America/dp/0767929969

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  2. "We're fairly sure that Bouie's figure about poverty rates is wrong. Even after reviewing his cource (sic). we'll guess he's talking about the percentage of kids who qualify for free or reduced price lunch. That isn't a measure of poverty."

    Yes, Bob. We know. Why, some of those kids and their families could be living the life of Reilly a full 30 percent to 85 percent above the official poverty line.

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    1. Just speaking plainly, you are an asshole.

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    2. This is a legitimate example of the exaggeration that occurs when writers "jack up" their language to support an agenda. These are low income kids. Why not say that truth instead of misleading readers by saying that 90% are at the government poverty level? You can tell the truth or fudge in your preferred direction. When you fudge you weaken trust and undermine your own credibility. We may agree with the author about the point, but others are not going to be convinced when there is blatant manipulation of basic facts going on. That's why this matters. So, I agree, you are being a jerk about this point.

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    3. The NCES says: "A low-poverty school is defined as a public school where 25 percent or less of the students are eligible for FRPL, and a high-poverty school is defined as a school where more than 75 percent of the students are eligible."

      Bouie didn't express it exactly right, but the National Center for Educational Statistics considers the FRLP to be a "proxy" measure of the relative level of poverty in the school. There's no fudging going on, and no blatant manipulation of the facts. It's the measure we have, and whether or not it is the official poverty figure is completely irrelevant to the points being made.

      So who's being the asshole or jerk here?

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    4. Bouie didn't express it right. You said it yourself. The way he did express it happens to mislead readers and exaggerate his point. You are being a jerk with your broken record insistence that it is OK to call school lunch eligibility a measure of poverty.

      Note the word "relative" in your statement about FRLP. The number of books in the library might be a proxy measure of the relative level of poverty in the school, so might the number of kids with nannies. Anything that is correlated with income can be. That says nothing whatsoever. When you use a measure that places 90% of children in poverty (when they are not actually so according to government classifications), you are misleading people.

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    5. Remember that Somerby is only "guessing" at the data used. He has no idea, but that doesn't stop him from advancing the narrative he wants.

      This is BOBesque hair-splitting at it's very worst. Yes, a high percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches is a very strong indicator of a high percentage of students in families below the official poverty line.

      And it certainly is true that every one of those kids is living in a very low-income family, no matter how much Bob wants to pretend that since they are not necessarily below the official poverty line, there is no way of knowing for sure, so let's pretend the data doesn't tell us anything worth knowing at all.

      And of course, while demanding absolute perfection from his favored targets in order to advance his favored script, Somerby went on for weeks after D'Leisha Dent accepted a scholarship offer how she couldn't get accepted into a four-year college.

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    6. Analretentative@1225:

      Don't sugarcoat it, Bob. Tell us how you really feel.

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    7. Again, the trolls either miss or ignore the point of this post. It is that resegregation is far less important than how children are being taught, especially in those schools with large numbers of lower income children.

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    8. Spoken like a true privileged white boy who will never understand the message sent when they pack up and move en masse at the first sign of minorities in their neighborhood.

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    9. 2:53 how do you defnine lower income children? How do you teach them differently than middle or higher income children?

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    10. Gratuitous insult with no substance.

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    11. @3:23

      You define lower income in terms of the income levels of the parents.

      You teach them differently when they come from low literacy backgrounds. That means families in which the parents do not regularly speak to their children as infants, where there is no habit of reading, few books in the home, and little reading to their children during the first few years of their lives. These are also families in which older children take care of younger kids or relatives care for children during the day and their main method of entertaining the kids is indiscriminate TV or video watching, so the kids are not receiving preschool-type activities (fantasy play, reading, interaction with adults, learning materials, experiences outside the home, etc.). Such kids wind up behind when they first enroll in kindergarten and they need remedial activities. Kids who start out behind after the first few years fall further behind during elementary school, so programs need to address their deficiencies, not teach them as if they came from the kinds of home environments families with a ltieracy tradition experience. There are people who study how to do this and recommend strategies. Somerby seems to be suggesting we should be examining whether this is happening in our schools, not complaining about %s of minority children. It isn't race that causes learning problems -- it is parenting practices during the first 5 years, and what happens in school after that.

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    12. What, after all, is the substance of any hole, be it from an ass or otherwise?

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    13. So, 2:53-3:30, you would use a measure of income such as eligibility for free and reduced lunch programs?

      You would test families, not just children, when they first enroll their kids in school to determine home literacy background.

      Then we sould find the people who know how to deal with this and hear their recommended strategies.

      Thanks.

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    14. @3:40 -- I disagree.

      You provide free and reduced lunches to those who qualify based on income because hungry children have problems learning. You do not use such measures to determine their educational needs.

      Schools already survey families to see what their literacy background is, but you need to focus on the individual children to see how they are actually doing upon entry. Then you identify the specific needs of the various children and use whatever teaching strategies and curriculum are most appropriate for each, based on the level of their current functioning. You should no more impose a one-size-fits-all standard based on poverty/low income than you would one based on middle-income. Kids vary.

      It is incumbent on schools to base their curriculum and teaching practices on what works to meet the needs of the kids they enroll. That means that if large proportions of their kids need remedial attention, the school should know how to provide it. Teachers without proper training should be trained in how to work with the kids in their classrooms.

      Here's what you do not do -- you don't test the kids on a common core or standardized curriculum to determine what percentage fail, then base school funding on those results, punishing the schools/teachers financially who have kids who do poorly on such tests. You do not teach a standard or common core curriculum to kids who are not ready or able to benefit from it, so that they waste their time (and the teacher's time) in activities they will go on failing at. You do not tell parents that their kids are succeeding when they are in fact several grade levels behind such standards and not catching up.

      You also support community-based programs to educate parents of toddlers, to teach them how to better prepare their kids for school. You fund preschools for low-income parents. Ideally, you adopt a model like that in European countries, where preschool is free for working parents and high quality child care is readily available. Nearly all parents love their kids and want the best for them. If they are able and know what to do, they will do it. We need to make that possible, regardless of family income.

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    15. And you don't think pre-school and kindergarten teachers aren't aware of every child and what their special needs might be?

      Good grief, you know less about what is going on in today's schools that Somerby does. But that won't stop either one of you from thinking that you know more than they do, and that the fix is quick and easy.

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    16. 4:02

      Allow me to restate your comment.

      Gack! You are as clueless about what is going on in today's schools as liberal leaders like Somerby. That said, it doesn't seem to stop either one of you from thinking that you know more than our ratty teachers in our ratty schools.
      Alas! The fix is not quick and easy, but how often do you see that discussed?

      KZ

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    17. @4:02 -- who said the fix is quick and easy? Who said teachers weren't aware of their kids? I do question whether they know what to do with which kids and whether they are permitted to do it. What do you think the arguments about common core are about?

      There is a considerable literature saying that testing of cognitive abilities (not high-stakes performance testing) gives teachers important information to supplement their observations and inform their judgments. Gifted kids and special needs kids are still sometimes overlooked by teachers, especially when they don't fit stereotypes.

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    18. Some professors need to speak out!

      Our public intellectuals fail us and we flail as a result.

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  3. If I were a black kid I would prefer a segregated school provided the education were equal. The opinion that separate but equal is evil because separate cannot be equal is wrong. It might be true that separate was not equal when that ridiculous assertion was coined, but the general proposition is false.

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    1. Separate but not equal was correct when the term was coined because it referred to the legal exclusion of children based on race. When someone is told they cannot attend school with other children of a different race, they are being treated in a way that implies they are second-class citizens. It does not refer to the quality of instruction or classrooms -- it refers to the fact of being excluded on the basis of race. It would still be true if schools were legally segregated so that children could not attend schools with other races.

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    2. "The opinion that separate but equal is evil because separate cannot be equal is wrong."

      Amazing. Sixty years after the U.S. Supreme Court blew that argument out of the water there are some who still cling to it. And we wonder why racism is so difficult to eradicate.

      You are truly one of the finest minds of the 19th Century.

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  4. It is fashionable today for Dems to bitch about Clinton. Kevin Drum today says this:

    "■During the Clinton administration, the performance of the VHA was revolutionized under Kenneth Kizer. The old VHA of Born on the 4th of July fame was turned into a top-notch health care provider that garnered great reviews from vets and bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill. The best account of this is Phil Longman's 2005 article, "Best Care Anywhere."

    Clinton did the same thing with FEMA. Whatever the Clintons personal foibles, they were pretty good at administration. Obama could take a lesson from them. As Hillary gears up to run in 2016, all that moaning about what a drag the Clintons were should be taken in this context. They appointed people who got things done properly.

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  5. Anyone interested in Jamelle Bouie has to say should follow the link and read his work without Somerby's misinterpretation.

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    1. That is exactly why the link is provided. However, not everyone would agree that Somerby has misinterpreted anything.

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    2. Bob provides links in much the same way Ann Coulter provides "footnotes."

      He knows that his sheep won't bother, because they've already got his infallible take on it and don't need to bother themselves with reading any more.

      But those curious enough to follow the link often discover, as in this case, that Bob is up to his old tricks -- nitpicking the small part that fits his narrative while distorting the entire piece.

      Yes, I urge those whose minds might still be open a crack to follow any link Somerby put up, including this one, and match it with what Somerby writes.

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    3. Is it a distortion that Bouie's article is about resegregation instead of how to best serve low-literacy kids in majority black schools?

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    4. Whenever you see a member of this commentariat accuse others of being a sheep, you can be sure you're reading trollery. And whenever you see such a troll challenge the "sheep" to follow the links that TDH provides to thereby find out for themselves that TDH is lying, you can be sure that you're reading a bluff.

      And so it is for this troll.

      Let's follow the link and whether we can "discover … nitpicking the small part that fits … [the] narrative while distorting the entire [Slate] piece." It will be helpful first to review the two themes of the narrative, both of them explications of TDH's opinions, with which, of course, you're free to disagree.

      Theme 1: It is important to keep clear the distinction between de jure and de facto segregation. Brown v Board addressed the first but not the second. You may feel that this is a distinction without a difference, but there's no doubt that the Slate article elides the two.

      Theme 2: A quick solution to de facto segregation will happen only in our dreams, so it's a good idea to figure out how to educate the (mostly black) kids who will attend those (re)segregated schools. Again, feel free to disagree with this judgment.

      Let's quote the Slate article:
      <quote>
      School segregation [the de facto kind] doesn’t happen by accident; it flows inexorably from housing segregation. …. We could fix this. If the only way to solve the problem of school segregation is to tackle housing, then we could commit to a national assault on concentrated poverty, entrenched segregation, and housing discrimination. We could mirror our decades of suburban investment with equal investment to our cities, with better transportation and more ways for families to find affordable housing. And we could do all of this with an eye toward racism … [via] a commitment to anti-racism in thought, word, and deed.
      </quote>

      Kinda reminds me of the Monty Python skit "How to Do It," in which a children's TV show host teaches you to learn to play the flute: "Well you blow in one end and move your fingers up and down the outside." All we have to do is get rid of concentrated poverty, entrenched segregation, housing discrimination; invest in our cities' transportation network and stock of affordable housing. And eradicate racism, including heresy "by thought, word, and deed."
      Meanwhile TDH says, not distorting the piece, kids will be showing up in those classrooms. Maybe we should talk about how to teach them.

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    5. In addition to getting rid of housing discrimination, you would have to get rid of self-segregation. In the link I posted a few days ago about Oak Park IL's efforts to maintain a racially balanced neighborhood, they had to impose housing restrictions, a form of benign housing discrimination. Otherwise people's choices tipped the racial balance -- and this happened in both white and black directions. So, some values (balanced integrated neighborhoods) may be in conflict with others (unrestricted choice of where to live). The assumption that all segregation arises from racial discrimination, poverty and lack of affordable housing may be incorrect -- but I agree that these are things that do need to be addressed.

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    6. Of course mr. rat left out the conclusion to Bouie's piece, which followed the part he quotes:

      "To do this, however, requires a commitment to anti-racism in thought, word, and deed. And given our high national tolerance for racial inequality, I doubt we’ll rise to the challenge."

      Guess it did not fit his "defense of Somerby" meme.
      You see, Bouie was writing about segregation, not educational performance.

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    7. Anonymous @1:37A , another child left behind.

      No, I didn't leave out the conclusion. There it sits, third sentence from the end, albeit in a somewhat snarky form. I'll quote: "And eradicate racism, including heresy "by thought, word, and deed."

      And this piety fits perfectly with TDH's theme that we can sit by and talk about Sugarcandy Mountain, situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, where all racism has been abolished, whether that of the hand, the tongue, or the mind. Or we can talk about how to teach kids right here right now.

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    8. So how is the view from the Sugarcandy Mountain that Somerby constructed? You know, the one that tells us that resegregation can't be happening in Tuscaloosa because he found pictures on the school district's Web site of black and white children playing together happily?

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    9. "Or we can talk about how to teach kids right here right now."

      Yes, deadrat, it's an "either/or" question. The United States of America and all its people are too stupid to envision a society free from racism and educate kids right here, right now.

      And "we" can talk about this until Doomsday, but something tells me that both the blogger and his followers lack both the awareness of what is really going on inside today's classrooms and the expertise to suggest solutions.

      In fact, all the blogger can do is find fault every time the issues of poverty and racism come up in a discussion of education -- to the point of denying that free and reduced lunch price eligibility is any true indicator of poverty.


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    10. Good grief, deadrat, the last sentence is what you left out. It indicates Bouie is not hopeful that eradication of segregated housing and thus schools is going to happen.

      So you and snarky Somerby say, to paraphrase, lets not discuss segregation itself, lets discuss how best to deal with kids in segregated schools as a result. And increasingsly Somerby's critiques (not yours) are sounding like O'Reilly and other conservatives, implying that those discussing segregation or other acts of discrimination are doing so because they are race or gender or some other kind of "hustler."

      The problem is, given the long history of reading crap like this in this blog, I have yet to see a solid proposal from Mr. Somerby along that line at all.

      Let us see some proposals from Somerby instead of attacks on others for not discussing them.

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    11. Anonymous @5:37A ,

      Are we reading different blogs or do just not understand the reference to Sugarcandy Mountain?

      In the TDH I'm reading, Bouie's main point is quoted ""minority students across the country are more likely to attend majority-minority schools than they were a generation ago." and TDH notes "That statement is basically true, no matter how you slice the data."

      Where did you read TDH saying that resegregation can't be happening? Or that he thinks this is preferable?

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    12. Good grief, Anonymous @10:09A,

      Why would anyone care what Bouie is hopeful about? Especially since TDH basically agrees with him, saying that "children in these big school systems [BC, PG, and DC] will be attending majority minority schools long into the future."

      You think that TDH sounds like O'Reilly because he "implies" that those who discuss segregation are "hustlers"? Are you sure this isn't just an inference confined to your own skull? Because what TDH actually writes (as opposed to what you read, or rather read into) is that those who discuss resegregation are missing a larger and more immediate problem.

      If you have a problem with that thesis, I'd be pleased to hear your argument against it. Your imaginings of what TDH might be implying, not so much.

      Also Anonymous @5:55A,

      History says that no matter what we "envision," attaining a society free from racism is an impossibility, but that we might actually be able to teach effectively. So why discuss something we don't have the capacity to change at the expense of discussing an immediate problem we can actually solve? I'd be happy to hear you dispute this point of view. Your ranting about reduced lunch prices, not so much.

      I can't tell you how much awareness and expertise TDH holds. By definition his must exceed mine. But this is a blog about how journalists cover things, including education. According to TDH, they do that poorly in many ways, including concentrating on things we can't fix at the expense of things we might. I, too, would be interested in proposals, especially if they're solutions, but that's not what this blog is about.

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    13. "In such ways, we may perhaps gin up our language to keep old fights and movements alive.....

      ....they also may tend to jack up their language and their data to heighten our sense of the plight they prefer to address."

      This is Somerby's kinder/gentler way of calling Bouie and others race hustlers, deadrat. You see this kind of thing repeatedly in his work. It is more subtle here than accusing a progressive white woman of dropping the "R" bomb, but Somerby shows some deference to men of color.

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    14. Anonymous @3:08P,

      This is Somerby's kinder/gentler way of calling Bouie and others race hustlers, deadrat. You see this kind of thing repeatedly in his work. (Emphasis mine.)

      Leave me out of this. It's you who sees "this kind of thing" in TDH's work. A "race hustler" is someone who exploits racial resentment for personal profit. TDH's criticism of journalists is different, namely that they're lazy, tribal, addicted to scandal for its own sake, driven by narrative, and too protective of their own. I know this because TDH repeats these charges poundingly and obsessively. Somehow you claim to know that TDH actually means something else.

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  6. OMB (Connectivity is Hard)

    Beyond that, we were struck by the use of the term "hyper-segregated" school. Here's why:

    In 1954, a school which was 90 percent black and ten percent white would have had a different name; iit woukd have been called "integrated." Had that school been in the South, rioting would have occurred.

    In those days, a school had to be entirely black just to be called "segregated." Today, if a school is 90 percent black, we call it hyper-segregated!

    In such ways, we may perhaps gin up our language to keep old fights and movements alive."

    Where have we seen the term "gin up" before? Perhaps from BOB?
    That said let's connect BOB to some research from the last century.
    Unfortunately it was conducted by "professors/" Probably overpaid, pampered, and applauded by peers.


    http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/2061599?uid=3739656&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21104058343517

    KZ (Suitably impressed by burned out former teachers)

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    1. This link takes you to: "Hypersegregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Black and Hispanic Segregation along Five Dimensions"

      So what? Does it matter that Bouie didn't invent this issue -- we can stipulate to that. The language is still hyper-inflated. Do you imagine this invalidates the point Somerby was trying to make? It doesn't.

      Delete
    2. Don't you know, KZ? According to Bob, racism and segregation ended once and for all some 50 years ago. Why, he's even got some pictures of happy black and white kids playing together in Tuscaloosa to prove it.

      Please don't bother him with a study from those vile professors who write in such fuzzy ways that indicate re-segregation was well underway 25 years ago.

      After all, blacks can sit anywhere they want to on a bus. What more do they want?

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    3. 3:43

      So you stipulate Bouie did not invent the language. You say the hyper word Bouie used is hyper something else.
      You say it doesn't invalidate BOB's point. So Bouie hyper ginned it up?

      KZ

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    4. Good point KZ. Plus the suspect numbering of the posts, it makes for a wild day at the Howler.

      Delete
    5. Right anon 3:43, it does take you to that article, and it's behind a pay wall. Here's the abstract:

      Abstract:

      Residential segregation has traditionally been measured by using the index of dissimilarity and, more recently, the P exposure index. These indices, however, measure only two of five potential dimensions of segregation and, by themselves, understate the degree of black segregation in U.S. society. Compared with Hispanics, not only are blacks more segregated on any single dimension of residential segregation, they are also likely to be segregated on all five dimensions simultaneously, which never occurs for Hispanics. Moreover, in a significant subset of large urban areas, blacks experience extreme segregation on all dimensions, a pattern we call hypersegregation. This finding is upheld and reinforced by a multivariate analysis. We conclude that blacks occupy a unique and distinctly disadvantaged position in the U.S. urban environment.

      I'm assuming that KZ paid the $43.95 and read the entire article, in which case he is in a good position to inform the rest of us whether or not the abstract does a good job summarizing the argument of the article, and then give us a clear statement of how the article supports the argument he is trying to make contra Somerby.

      Actually, I decided to go ahead and do some of KZ's homework for him and took a look at the article, since I have access to JSTOR, and I followed it OK until I got to the fifth dimension of hyper-segregation on p. 376. There's an equation that I had trouble with. Perhaps KZ can help us out with it. The equation posits "areal units that are ordered by geographic size from the smallest to largest, a1 is the land area of unit i, and the two numbers n1 and n2 refer to different points in the rank ordering of areal units from smallest to largest: n1 is the rank of the tract where the cumulative total population of areal units equals the total minority population of the city, summing from the smallest unit up; n2 is the rank of the tract where the cumulative total population of the units equals the minority population totalling from the largest unit down."

      I'm looking forward to KZ's clarification. Absent that, we'll just have to go on assuming that he/she is an insufferable troll, only here to obfuscate, never to clarify.

      (Or KZ could just come clean and admit that there are vernacular and technical uses of a term such as "hyper-segregation.)

      Delete
    6. Sure there are vernacular uses of a term such as "hyper-segregation."

      Why just the other day, I was sitting in my favorite tavern having a deep conversation about hyper-segregation with the guy on the next bar stool. I hear the word all the time in the vernacular.

      So I turned to the guy and said, "Why are you ginning up the conversation with such words that have different uses in the technical and the vernacular?"

      A brawl ensued.

      Delete
    7. So, you think Bouie and the authors of this paper used the term in the same way?

      Delete
    8. Why cacambo, what progress you have made. For a long time you complained you could not understand us at all. then you complained your rarely posted anymore because of out ilk. Now you are back challenging our expertise. You seem to hate us so much you only respond when we call.

      Actrually, if a non response is your definition of being a troll is not responding to a question, then you have been in that category since December 19, 2013.

      We could follow your lead on that occaision when you were asked to define what a year of learning meant in the context of BOB's repeated assertion that 10 points on the NAEP equals an academic year. We won't.

      We will follow a better leader.

      In its entry on “hyper segregation,” the world’s leading authority on the topic offers an interesting account of the concept, and a history of the term’s origins. Hypersegregation is a form of racial segregation that consists of the geographical grouping of racial groups. Most often, this occurs in cities where the residents of the inner city are African Americans and the suburbs surrounding this inner core are often white European American residents.[1] The idea of hypersegregation gained credibility in 1989 due to the work of Douglas Massey and Nancy A. Denton and their studies of "American Apartheid" when whites created the black ghetto during the first half of the 20th century in order to isolate growing urban black populations by segregation among inner-city African-Americans.[2]"

      We would also like to credit Bernadine Dohrn but we could not find anything she wrote about in Lesbian Tide on the topic.

      KZ



      In its entry on “White privilege,” the world’s leading authority on the topic offers an interesting account of the concept, and a history of the term’s origins.

      Delete
    9. Please also cite the source of your quote. Your last citation was inappropriate. I don't see how this is either. I am not cacambo. I think you are writing nonsense phrased as criticism.

      Delete
    10. Let us see.

      We believe the author of the final sentence, below our signature was none other than BOB Somerby. You don't recongize it? It is from:

      WHERE DID PRIVILEGE COME FROM: Advantages and pitfalls!
      TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2014

      The "world's leading authority" we used for "hypersegregation was the exact same authority used by BOB in his discussion of "White privilege," which is why we modeled our opening sentence to the citation after his.

      If you found the reference to Bernadine Dohrn being quoted in Lesbian Tide inappropriate, share that with BOB. That is the publication from which he drew Dohrn into the conversation on privelege.

      KZ

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    11. In an often-cited 1988 study, Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton compiled 20 existing segregation measures and reduced them to five dimensions of residential segregation. Massey and Denton brought conceptual clarity to the theory of segregation measurement by identifying five dimensions.

      African Americans are considered to be racially segregated because of all five dimensions of segregation being applied to them within these inner cities across America. These five dimensions are evenness, clustering, exposure, centralization and concentration.

      Evenness is the difference between the percentage of a minority in a particular part of a city, compared to the city as a whole. Exposure is the likelihood that a minority and a majority party will come in contact with one another. This dimension shows the exposure to other diversity groups while sharing the same neighborhoods. Clustering is the gathering of different minority groups into one certain space; clustering often leads to one big ghetto and the formation of hyperghettoization. Centralization is the number of people within a minority group that is located in the middle of an urban area, often looked at as a percentage of a minority group living in the middle of a city compared with the rest of their group living elsewhere. Concentration is the dimension that relates to the actual amount of land a minority lives on within its particular city. The higher segregation is within that particular area, the smaller the amount of land a minority group will control.

      Delete
    12. I am cacambo, and I still don't understand KZ. I don't hate KZ. I don't think KZ is stupid. I just don't think he adds much to the conversation here.

      I took Somerby to be complaining about journalists playing fast and loose with the terms "segregation" and "hyper-segregation." The gist of the complaint seems to be that this encourages readers to conflate the present-day situation with pre-Brown segregation. (Before the ilk start accusing me of coming to Somerby's rescue by saying "what he really meant," paraphrasing one's understanding of an argument is a basic rhetorical move that’s essential for any kind of reasoned discourse. If you think I've misconstrued what Somerby said, then please help clarify.)

      In response to this, KZ links to a technical academic debate about segregated neighborhoods, not schools. Now certainly there could be a point KZ was trying to make, but he never spells it out. This is especially glaring since Somerby explicitly distinguishes between segregation in schools and in housing patterns:

      “Brown was not an attempt to address the kinds of racial imbalance in schools which were caused by housing patterns. It addressed legal separation, in which kids were (for example) forbidden to attend their own neighborhood schools on the basis of race.”

      So I’m willing to give KZ the benefit of the doubt that the article he linked to somehow undermines Somerby’s point, but as of yet it’s not clear to me how.

      p.s. Non-response is not my definition of a troll. My definition of a troll is someone who willfully obfuscates. Making sense is hard work, spewing nonsense is easy. But even when we try to makes sense, we often fail, and this I think is a legitimate critique of Somerby--that he’s often not very charitable in this regard. He seems to think sense-making is the default and anyone who fails is operating in bad faith. Of course sometimes they are, especially journalists with an axe to grind, and trolls.

      Delete
    13. cacambo, lets skip some of the personalized points people of your ilk make and get to one you specifically make about the debate in question.

      "I took Somerby to be complaining" you write. KZ took Somerby to be complaining. KZ noted Somerby was accusing Bouie of perhaps ginning up language. KZ pointed out where the language came from. And the term hyper segregation as it applies to black attendance in schools certainly comports with the definition of that term as created by Massey and Denton to describe living patterns in America. Somerby's point, therefore, was not only wrong, his error could be seen as doing exactly what he was accusing Bouie of doing. He was accusing him of "perhaps" bad faith for employing a term from social research correctly.

      You raise a larger issue with the quote from Somerby. I will address it in a separate comment because the error in that quote demonstrates some seriously flawed thinking by Somerby.

      Delete
    14. Anon 11:25:

      I look forward to your separate comment. It sounds as if you have thought this through and have a point to make.

      In the meantime, It still seems to me that taking the technical term "hyper-segregation" from research on residential patterns and applying it to schools without explanation is bound to confuse the issue. Certainly residential hyper-segregation is likely to result in increasingly segregated schools, and Somerby concurs, but segregation in schools can presumably be measured with simple percentages. How do the categories "evenness, clustering, exposure, centralization and concentration" help us understand segregation in the context of schools themselves?

      As per above, I think Somerby's

      Delete
    15. Oops. Hit publish to soon. I was going to say that as per my previous comment, Somerby's suggestion that the language has been "ginned up" is not helpful. It implies bad faith in the absence of any evidence.

      Delete
  7. "What do we do to serve them? How do we serve them best?"





    "What will happen in those classrooms? In our view, it's shameful to see how very rarely that question gets discussed."




    Still waiting. How can we solve Tuscaloosa?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Start by discussing better questions, like the two you have posted here. That is how you solve Tuscaloosa.

      Delete
    2. Let us start the ball rolling.

      On the opening day of school next fall, all students should be tested and placed in classrooms with students who are more or less at the same educational level as they are.

      Delete
    3. What if kids are performing at one level in one subject but at a different level in another?

      Delete
    4. "What do we do to serve them? How do we serve them best?"

      It's a cookbook.

      Delete
    5. Greetings citizens of Earth who are so delicious in a rich chocolate sauce!

      Delete
    6. 6:07 Then they will just have to move from class to class.
      They can be with second graders for math, third graders for reading, sixth grade for PE if that is appropriate to their skill level.

      Delete
    7. Well. That was some discussion! Bob was right! Alas!
      Even his own readers don't seem to want to discuss what will happen in those classrooms.

      Delete
  8. Brilliant essay, Bob.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. A refeshing new take on things, what?

      Delete
    2. I am particularly fond of the suggestions for closing the gaps.

      Delete
  9. Yes. Discussing segregation as a way to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the most monumental court decision on race is counterproductive.

    It would be like using the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia to discuss interracial marriage. We know those things are still not common, but they are legal. We should address the greater instability of marriages among blacks instead.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/timothy-flanagan-tennessee-cross-burning

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Brown was not an attempt to address the kinds of racial imbalance in schools which were caused by housing patterns. It addressed legal separation, in which kids were (for example) forbidden to attend their own neighborhood schools on the basis of race."

    This is an accurate statement, but one wonders why Somerby chose the "for example" example he used, because it clearly understates what the Brown case addressed, which was the constitutionality of a separate system of schools based on race.

    What Bouie and others allude to is that in the north segregation occurred due to housing discrimination, which had the same effect as Jim Crow laws in the south. And the victims were those blacks who fled the south and its de jure segregation only to find de facto hyper segregation in the north. The impact on their children was to produce schools almost as segregated as those in the South. The children
    weren't prohibited from going to their neighborhood schools because of race. They were required to go to schools in their neighborhood that were bad and racially segregated period.

    The segregation continues, north, south, east and west. So does its pernicious impact. Bouie discusses that in greater detail than Somerby shows here. Somerby suggests we should not be distracted by discussing it or blaming one region but focus on what to do with the kids in the classes and schools we have as a result. When statistics are used to show the problems are getting worse, he says the numbers don't look that bad to him.

    The problem is Somerby doesn't really discuss that. He just criticizes others for not doing so.

    When others criticize the outcomes or performance of our schools as a whole, he says we don't take into account the fact that the performance measures fail to segregate the results based on race. Then, when he segregates the results, he tries to demonstrate that our still segregated (and getting more so) schools are doing better with blacks and Hispanics than they did in the past because the modest numbers look good to him.

    Explain Tuscaloosa Bob Somerby. Or suggest a solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby suggests we should not be distracted by discussing it or blaming one region but focus on what to do with the kids in the classes and schools we have as a result.

      I would agree that this is Somerby's point, except that I'd exclude the last 3 words.

      Delete
    2. Yes and as aresult you miss both Somerby's point and mine.

      Delete
    3. I would further challenge Somerby to find anything in the Brown decision that has anything to do with the location of the schools, or that segregated "neighborhood" schools would pass the court's muster.

      Instead we find this:

      "We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This disposition makes unnecessary any discussion whether such segregation also violates the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

      Delete
  11. Segregation can't be important when everybody from Sam Hill to Somerby have to ask what the heck it is.

    ReplyDelete

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