Saturday, December 02, 2006

Supreme court on Monday with forced diversity case.

Edumacation: It involves a white parent's child who could not get into the school of his choice near his home because of Jefferson County uses a policy where their school's enrollment has to be between 15 and 50 percent black. Opponents argue this is discrimination that does nothing for academic achievement. Some parent picked in this article are happy about the diversity and opportunity to help society and others are wondering if its worth the problem overall. The striking thing is that most white parents in this article are all about world citizen and we are the world, we are the children ideal while the minority parents are frustrated with the long busing times even though in some cases it works out with better grades for their child. But they feel it could be done much better.

When Rebekah Nelson moved to Louisville from Frankfort more than three years ago, it was in part to send her daughter to more diverse public schools. She chose Price Elementary, where nearly half the students are black, even though it meant a 45-minute school bus ride from her family's Fern Creek neighborhood. Nelson, who is white, has seen her 8-year-old daughter, Lillianne, thrive academically and make friends of different races and income levels -- exactly as Nelson had hoped. "She can get along with all kinds of people," she said, which is important because that is "the way the world is."
Brown, a 30-year-old Web site coordinator who is white, said the long bus rides are worth the quality education and diverse racial mix that she believes will help her children. "It's one of the reasons why we nixed private education -- it's too white," Brown said. "They need to live in a diverse world when they're young and building social skills so that later on they won't judge based on color of skin." Her oldest son, 11-year-old John, who now attends Noe Middle, said few of his neighborhood friends attended the same school. But the mix at Byck "was cool," he said, bringing him a "new perspective" as he attended his school friends' birthday parties and other events. Although the district says that about 92 percent of elementary families get their first or second choice, Brown said she understands the frustration with the plan of those who do not. But limiting parent choice is necessary for a greater good, Brown said, even though she understands parents' frustration. "I'm not just raising my kids, I'm raising members of society," she said. "My choices will affect how they'll be as adults."
Minority parents.
Although Chris Mendoza can see Kennedy Elementary from the porch of her West End home, her 8-year-old son, Tino, could not attend because of the racial guidelines, she said. "It was frustrating," said Mendoza, an African-American secretary for United Steel Workers who lives in the Park DuValle neighborhood. ....Tino also had difficulty adjusting to Wilkerson, where 73 percent of students are white, she said. "There's nothing but white people out there," he told his mother. Despite the challenges, Mendoza said she values diverse schools for her son, and she thinks he'll eventually benefit by soaking in high academic aspirations of fellow students. Although unrestricted choice would be nice, she said, "they shouldn't just put all white people and all black people together."
Glenn, a single parent and department-store clerk who couldn't afford a car, found it hard to attend school events. And Leshan couldn't play after-school basketball or attend skating parties. "He was upset, but he understood," she said. After some initial behavior problems at Bowen, Leshan has seen some grades rise from Ds and Fs to As and Bs. Glenn credits Bowen with prompting that change, yet she isn't a fan of the assignment plan that brought him there. "It's like saying (to your child), 'You can only play with these people because you have too many black friends,' " she said.
Enough of this feel good stuff and individual cases, how does it work overall in bringing a quality education to the children?
But critics offer a lot of complaints about the system, not the least being that some just find it galling. Why should schools that are more black than white be inherently suspect, even if they don't reflect the racial breakdown of the district as a whole? "It doesn't make sense," local PTA-board member Dreema Jackson says of the guidelines. "It's O.K. for the minority to be between 15% and 50%, but if you flip those percentages, a school is no longer diverse?" Worse, by stressing racial balancing, critics say, you take the focus off improving educational outcome. Thirty years of seating black students next to white ones has failed to close Jefferson County's achievement gap. Black high school students still trail their white counterparts by 25% in reading-proficiency tests and by 34% in math. The gap is closely linked to factors like parents' education level and income, which no amount of school balancing is likely to fix. "We have the most integrated school system in the country," says Carmen Weathers, a retired Jefferson County schoolteacher. "That sounds good on a business brochure, but it has nothing to do with education." Weathers, who is black, favors a return to schools that are all or mostly black because he thinks the teachers would be more attuned to the particular needs and learning styles of some black students. But where are those teachers supposed to come from? Raoul Cunningham, who heads the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., points out that it is harder to recruit experienced teachers to work in largely minority schools. Critics "blame all the ills of the current system on desegregation," he says. "Desegregation did not cause the achievement gap."
This has nothing to do with white schools vs black schools. It has to do with the quality of education given out by the various schools which related to income and educational levels. I would argue throw in community values where bad areas with little in the way of role models with good moral, common sense values for children to emulate. But this breaks down as a backdoor way of putting minorities in good school which are going to be white overall under the guise of promoting diversity as some sort of cure for future societial ills. That cannot stand in the supreme court.

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