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Initial Issue Post #1

VSalas's picture


In class we began discussing the many issues involving education in urban schools. After going through numerous readings and articles, one of the most problematic and critical issues in education always seems to stem from racial inequality. It is shown in Reed Jordan’s article “A Closer Look at Income and Race Concentration in Schools” that a little over half of black and brown students attend schools in which a majority of the student body is on free or reduced lunch. Theoretically this wouldn’t be such huge deal if school funding were not dependent on the property value of the surrounding area or zoning laws in certain areas. This deep racial separation goes further back than Plessy vs Ferguson and it’s still amazing how these barriers are still in place in the so called “post racial” society.

Disassembling these barriers would take centuries but one current solution that was working before it was considered “unconstitutional” was Louisville’s voluntary desegregation program. The program involved the busing of some urban school kids to suburban schools and vise versa but unfortunately because there was the measuring of diversity by a student’s race was unconstitutional, the program had to be restructured. This notion of seeing no race when trying to benefit those who are underprivileged is problematic but changing it would undermine Brown v The Board of Education. This is a sticky situation that would need to be discussed and researched further through out the semester.        


jccohen's picture


I appreciate your point that inequalities in education so often trace back to racial lines, and of course this becomes highly visible in the racial dot maps we looked at in relation to the article on segregation/desegregation in schooling.  Louisville and also Seattle have adopted programs that have promise, but - as you say - the legal issues become "sticky" here in terms of recognizing race.  According to the Reardon article and many others, desegregation is a necessary component for greater equality in schooling, and Brown V Board is certainly based on this premise.  How do you see Brown v Board as problematic (as suggested at the end of your post)?  Some contemporary scholars and educators of color argue that desegregation is not necessarily the only or most desirable route; what do you think about this?