The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

22 December 2005

Can't we all just get in line?

The People's Republic of Boulder, like the rest of Colorado, has open enrollment in its public schools, and apparently it's preventing the materialization of a perfectly-integrated multiracial utopia:

School segregation has been a subject of discussion — and embarrassment — for the past five years in Boulder, a community that considers itself the most progressive in the state.

"For a liberal community, we aren't looking so liberal in the white flight we've experienced from some schools in the last 10 years," says [outgoing School Board President Julie] Phillips, who was barred by term limits from seeking a third term on the school board.

The increasing segregation of Boulder schools was highlighted in a 2000 study by University of Colorado education school professors Kenneth Howe and Margaret Eisenhart.

"Whites are disproportionately requesting open enrollment in schools with high test scores; Latinos are disproportionately requesting open enrollment in bilingual schools," Howe and Eisenhart wrote.

The nerve. How dare they request things disproportionately?

But Boulder isn't taking this lying down:

[Superintendent George] Garcia says the district can't do anything about the state's open enrollment law, but a citizen task force in June suggested several strategies to disperse the district's students more equitably.

That could include enrollment targets for minorities and economically disadvantaged students at Boulder schools. The targets would be achieved through enrollment caps and preferences.

La Shawn Barber calls this song exactly what it is:

So, 50 years beyond government-mandated segregation, we've come full circle. The government is still in the illegal business of categorizing citizens by race and coercing people to conform to their hare-brained scheme of racial balance, an empty and scandalous policy that will cause resentment among all races and force whites (and other groups) to send their kids to private or parochial schools.

Good luck with all that.

Not particularly apropos of this, I have been reading Joanne Jacobs' book Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds, the history of a charter high school in San Jose, California that takes the least-promising ninth-graders in town, yet sends all its graduates to four-year colleges. Not everyone makes it through, but those that do, do well. When you have a mission like this, considerations like "racial balance" fade into insignificance.

Posted at 8:20 AM to Almost Yogurt


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