School Talk

The Associated Press Never Complained That MY School Was Segregated. It Was 2 Percent Black.

There is something very wrong with outlets like Associated Press suddenly being concerned with what they deem to be “segregated” schools simply because parents of color are making their own choices about where to send their children to school.

I guess only all-Black and all-Brown schools bother them since suburban kids have been attending all-white schools forever and, well, that didn’t set off any segregation alarm bells. As the article says:

Charter schools are among the nation’s most segregated, an Associated Press analysis finds—an outcome at odds, critics say, with their goal of offering a better alternative to failing traditional public schools.

And who’s to say that these children of color attending charter schools would have been zoned to neighborhood schools that were any more racially diverse? The Associated Press certainly provides no evidence to support that.

I attended school during my K-12 years in a district that was basically all white. Wellesley, Massachusetts, is my hometown. It is 2 percent Black. I never heard anyone claim that the schools were segregated. I don’t remember the Associated Press visiting our campus and writing stories about how damaging our segregated schools were for us and how it was imperative that we find ways to be more integrated. No one seemed to begrudge the parents who, in almost all cases, had purchased homes in this premiere zip code precisely because the school system had a reputation for excellence.

And let’s not kid ourselves that many parents also liked the fact that everyone in the school, with few exceptions, pretty much looked like them.

Looking through this lens of my own experience has me perplexed and yes, angry, that the Associated Press would see fit to write a whole story about parents of color doing precisely the same thing that my parents did. My parents chose to buy a house in the late ’70s in a place where almost everybody sitting in my classes with me was white, not unlike countless suburban parents in America. They chose a school system for their daughters.

But somehow, the charter parents featured in the AP story who have done precisely the same thing that my parents did—choose a school that lacks racial diversity—have created a segregated system.

More than a few folks who live and breathe education weighed in on the piece. Here’s a taste of what they had to say:

Ask The Parents

It’s simple. We should be listening to what they have to say. From the piece:

Araseli Perez, a child of Mexican immigrants, sent her three children to Bruce-Guadalupe because she attended Milwaukee Public Schools and she wanted something different for her children. The schools in her family’s neighborhood are more diverse racially, but she said race was not a factor in her decision to enroll her children at the charter school five miles away.

“We’re just happy with the results,” she said. Her youngest child, Eleazar, now in seventh grade, is on the soccer team and plays the trumpet at the school, which boasts test scores and graduation rates above city averages. Perez said her children frequently came home from Bruce-Guadalupe showing off an award they won.

Say it again: We’re just happy with the results. What else is there to even say?

Just as generations of Wellesley parents have been happy with the results of their predominantly white schools, so are the parents choosing charter schools that are all or mostly Black and Brown. The idea that we would somehow shame one set of parents over another is disgraceful. I’d hope The Associated Press would agree.

What do you think?

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