Dana Goldstein writes about school segregation in the modern era, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day:
American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago.
What really drew me to her story is her simple explanation of how the soon to be dismantled school assignment program here in Wake County, North Carolina works. I’ve been following the story around this for years and never understood the nature of the program until I read this blog post:
The Wake County program located high-achieving, themed magnet schools within poor neighborhoods, and opened them up to any interested student. For each seat at the magnet school occupied by a middle class or affluent kid from across town, an inner city child was given the opportunity to bus to the neighborhood school the wealthier kid would have attended, if he hadn’t chosen the magnet instead.
In fact, given that participation in the program is completely voluntary, I’m not sure what’s at issue or what the goals of the new school board are.