Monday, February 15, 2010

Separate is Probably Not Equal?


I worry that racial isolation will mask inequities that can persist despite gains in test scores. Just take a look at what appears to be happening in New York City. The New York Daily News reports that the city's most prestigious high schools now enroll fewer black students than they did in 2002. The share of black students in some of these schools, like Bard and Eleanor Roosevelt, has plummeted to nearly half of what it once was. District officials counter that new "high-performing small schools...are enrolling large numbers of black students." But does this bear out our fears of segregation? And should we care?

We should care if this trend (assuming it is a trend) creates new inequities where we're least able to see them. In some of those new small schools, the overwhelming majority of black students are earning Regents Diplomas, and that's good news. But are they getting the same kind of preparation students at Bard or Stuyvesant receive? Some argue that the Regents Diploma has been dumbed down. Is it a good enough yard stick for measuring equity?

Good points, but this line shows how much the rhetorical frame is being moved:

There probably isn't such a thing as separate but equal in the long term.

Probably? I know that was unconscious on Claus's part, but if progressives start internalizing that perhaps Brown v. the Board of Education was wrong after all, we're all screwed.


Claus von Zastrow said...

Good point, Tom. No "probably" here. "Definitely" is the right word. History offers a clear guide.

Anonymous said...

We need a reminder in NY just now...

btw, congrats on Unity Sta.