The struggle to keep claims alive: Suppose your third- or fourth-grade child was attending a public school whose demographics looked like this:
Demographics of Public School A:Suppose your neighborhood school looked like that. Would it even enter your head that your child had been forced to attend a "segregated school?"
White kids: 35 percent
Black kids: 25 percent
Hispanic kids: 25 percent
Asian-American kids: 10 percent
Others: 5 percent
In recent years, we attended schoolwide spelling bees, on two occasions, in a school whose demographics resembled those of Public School A. We didn't think we were in a segregated school. Given what we saw going on in that school, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.
Imagine something else. Imagine that someone waved a magic wand and created a nationwide regime in which, to borrow from Garrison Keillor, the public schools were all exactly average.
According to the NCES, your child's school would now look like this:
Demographics of Public School B:Suppose you were the parent of a black son or daughter. Would your child be better off in Public School B? How much better off?
White kids: 48.1 percent
Black kids: 15.8 percent
Hispanic kids: 26.8 percent
Asian-American kids: 5.5 percent
Others: 3.8 percent
Also this: Would your child be better off after the school creates "gifted" or "accelerated" programs, likely tilting the demographic blend within specific classrooms?
If your child would be better off in Public School B, we'll also ask you this. Would you be inclined to say that Public School A was a segregated school, while Public School B was not? Those are the findings which would result from the academic regime we considered in yesterday's post.
Would that thought ever have entered your head?
The demographics of Public School B exaclt match the demographics of the nationwide public school population as of September 2017. If someone waved a magic wand, we could have a nation of schools where, in terms of demographics, the schools were all exactly alike.
In the real world, this would never be possible, due to nationwide residential patterns. That said, we're still asking you to ponder the overpowering liberal academic desire to outfit ourselves with the ability to complain, in highly dramatic ways, about the number of kids attending "segregated schools."
Would you apply that badly fraught term to a school like Public School A? When we visited a similar school, we thought we'd died and gone to heaven.
Did we simply fail to see that it was still 1955 in that school? Also, what makes us liberals long to retain our most eye-catching claims?
Another segregated school: Consider a possible Public School C. Its demographics look like this:
Demographics of Public School C:That's a "segregated school" too! Would that thought have entered your head, but for The Atlantic?
White kids: 33.3 percent
Black kids: 33.3 percent
Hispanic kids: 33.3 percent
We very much need to talk about the quality of our public schools. On the few occasions when we do, do we need to talk like that?
For people inclined to think in jokes: Try to work with something like this:
In the old days, it was George Wallace who said, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Now it's the year 2018, and the people who say that are Us!