Editor’s Note: This issue of TIR addresses the particularly critical – but often overlooked – issue of race-conscious teaching in diverse schools. Teachers have long been part of the desegregation process (see TIR, issue 8 for further discussion); based in part on awareness that faculty diversity produces important benefits for school communities. In a society increasingly pushing for colorblind policies, however, a discussion of the role teachers play in facilitating or hindering student achievement and the development of cultural competence is often silenced. This week, a preeminent school desegregation scholar shares an article discussing the pivotal role race plays in schools. Willis Hawley walks educators through the perils of ignoring race, and concludes with a description of a vitally important new program called “The Teaching Diverse Students Initiative (TDSi).” Please take the time to read through the article and explore the suite of tools available on TDSI’s Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi

An Inconvenient Truth: Race Matters in School Improvement
Willis D. Hawley

University of Maryland

The Irony of Colorblind Educational Reform

No one can be unaware of the shameful differences in the overall academic outcomes for students of color and the achievement and graduation rates of many whites and some Asian American students. Given this recognition, one would expect policies and practices related to students’ race and ethnicity to be on the reform agenda. Of course, there is wide-spread discussion of the “minority achievement gap,” but–ironically–solutions on the public agenda are invariably colorblind. Needless to say, “desegregation” is apparently off-limits in the halls of power. But more to the point of this essay, it is widely assumed that what works for white and Asian-American students will work for students of color if only we did it better and more often.

To be sure, students of color do not typically have access to the same level of teacher expertise or the same quality of learning environments experienced by most successful students. If this “opportunity gap” did not exist, the achievement gap would be much smaller than it is. But, if we are going to maximize learning opportunities and outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse students, we will need to recognize and be responsive to the inconvenient truth that race influences teaching and learning in at least two important ways:

  • Students’ race and ethnicity affect their motivation and how they respond to instruction and curricula.
  • Students’ race and ethnicity often affect how educators, and the rest of us, relate to students and the assumptions educators have about how students learn and how much they can learn.

These realities should not be surprising. We live in a society in which racial difference, stereotypes, and intergroup tension and misunderstanding are part of our everyday experiences, if not in our personal lives. They are also part of what we see in the media. Research on race-related dispositions is clear that:

  • Almost all of us, regardless of our skin color, are biased toward, or at least relatively uncomfortable with, people whose race and ethnicity is different from our own.1
  • People of different races and ethnicities see the incidence of discrimination and the availability of educational and economic opportunity differently.2

A strong argument can be made that greater efforts to desegregate schools–which have become increasingly segregated in recent years3–would contribute significantly to narrowing the achievement gap.4 Integration could be fostered by providing more funding for magnet schools, more incentives for charters to integrate, and support for popular suburban-urban student enrollment programs (like the Boston area’s METCO program). But many, if not most, desegregation programs fail to fully use the opportunities that integration provides to enhance the learning of all students and too often want to be colorblind when they seek to improve student opportunities to learn.

Quality Teaching is THE Key to Effective Schools

The single most important determinant of the contributions schools can make to student learning is the quality of teaching to which students have access. This well-documented proposition5, which is true for all schools, is particularly key to the effectiveness of schools serving students who are racially and ethnically diverse. Moreover, in schools that are integrating as a result of assignment strategies that bring students from different communities together, the importance of effective teaching is even greater than in other schools because of the range of interests, experiences and cultures of the school’s students.

Despite the research-based and common sense proposition that the key to effective schools is effective teaching–particularly in racially and ethnically diverse schools–public policy focuses more on teacher qualifications than on teaching quality and efforts to improve teaching are often generic (“good teaching is good teaching”). Moreover, characterizations of effective school conditions and leadership behaviors are largely absent of policies and practices that contribute to productive teaching and learning in schools with substantial student diversity.

Toward More Race-Conscious Educational Policies and Practices: The Teaching Diverse Students Initiative

In 2007, building on its award-winning Teaching Tolerance program, the Southern Poverty Law Center began a continuing, nationwide consultation with scholars, professional organizations and expert educators to identify what educators need to know and be able to do more effectively enhance the learning opportunities and outcomes of students of color. This effort resulted in the Teaching Diverse Students Initiative (TDSI), the development of a suite of tools for use by educators, colleges of education, and advocates for students that embody interactive multi-media professional development resources that are available on line, without cost, at http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi. The resources include video of expert commentary and effective practice, learning activities, and authoritative articles and reports.

TDSI addresses three steps that need to be taken in order to implement race-conscious approaches to school improvement that benefits all students:

  • Develop a better understanding of how race affects teaching and learning and calling into question many beliefs and assumptions which, while often well-meaning, undermine learning opportunities for students of color.
  • Enhance the professional expertise of teachers to engage in practices that are responsive to the racial and ethnic diversity of their students.
  • Create and sustain school-wide policies, practices and cultures that promote the learning of all students but are particular important in racially and ethnically diverse schools.

Identifying Beliefs that Influence Behavior and Educational Practice6
Commitment to race-conscious strategies for school improvement begins with understanding the influence of race on behavior and knowing about the misconceptions many people have. Three of several lessons TDSI seeks to teach in this regard are:

  1. Differences among people to whom we assign racial and ethic identities have no biological bases and are instead the product of socially constructed beliefs. This means that attributed racial differences can be changed by social action when race-related beliefs disadvantage one group over another.
  2. Most of us are not fully aware of our dispositions toward people of races and ethnicities different from our own. Thus, we do not understand how our behavior is seen by others or the extent to which our actions are shaped by latent beliefs. TDSI provides tools for examining one’s “hidden beliefs”.
  3. Despite progress in race relations, there are broad differences in how people of color see their opportunities and the confidence they have that they and their children will experience discrimination.

There are also many beliefs about teaching and learning that are particularly relevant to the opportunities to learn experienced by students of color. These beliefs are sustained because they seem sensible and, in many cases, are well meaning. Three of many examples of potentially non-productive beliefs many teachers hold that are identified and examined in the TDSI learning activities and resources are:7

  1. A desire to ignore racial differences in order to be fair to all students.
  2. Interest in building student self-esteem at the expense of academic rigor.
  3. Teaching should be adapted to students’ “learning styles” in ways that limit cognitive development and tend to stereotype.
  4. Students must have good basic skills before they are asked to engage in more complex learning activities.

Race-Aware Pedagogy
The most significant school-based influence on student learning is the quality of teaching students experience. TDSI focuses attention on the characteristics of teaching that are particularly important to maximize the academic performance of students of color and that benefit all students. A sampling of these practices, many of which also define “culturally relevant pedagogy”- which collectively manifest the importance of the interdependence of instructional practice and the development of caring and trustful relationships among students and teachers–are:8

  • Respecting and being interested in students’ cultural backgrounds and personal experiences
  • Encouraging and supporting student higher-order learning (e.g., engaging students in complex problem solving while developing “basic skills”
  • Building on students’ prior knowledge, values and experiences
  • Avoiding stereotyping of students (e.g., over-generalizing cultural differences)
  • Using “ability” grouping flexibly and sparingly
  • Adapting instruction to students’ semantics, accents, dialects and language facility
  • Applying rules relating to behavior fairly and sensitively
  • Facilitating learning of challenging material by knowing how to deal with “stereotype threat”
  • Engaging families directly in their children’s learning
  • Understanding and adapting to students’ nonverbal communications

Conditions in Schools that are Particularly Important to the Success of Students of Color

School conditions significantly shape the opportunities, support and motivation teachers have to effectively teach. This is particularly true about facilitating the learning of students of diverse races and ethnicities. Of course, school structures, processes and cultures also affect student dispositions and their opportunities to learn. These conditions include:9

  • Open discussions of issues related to race and ethnicity
  • Shared beliefs that teachers and administrators can significantly influence student motivation and achievement regardless of students’ family and community experiences
  • Targeted professional development for school staff driven by analysis of student performance
  • Student access to and participation in rigorous opportunities to learn, such as honor courses, AP and other experiences that challenge them
  • Curricula that deal with the experiences and cultures of different racial and ethnic groups
  • Policies and support that prohibit tracking and inflexible “ability” grouping
  • Fair and inclusive processes for defining and dealing with inappropriate student behavior
  • Parent engagement strategies that are responsive to racial and ethnic diversity
  • Continual monitoring of progress of different racial and ethnic groups

Race-Conscious School Improvement Would Improve the Learning Opportunities of All Students

It is striking that the most common policies and practices advocated to respond to the race-related evidence of the “crisis” in American education are raceless–or implicitly “post-racial”. Often, special efforts to meet the needs of racially and ethnically diverse students are marginalized and treated as actions that take time away from the central tasks of improving academic achievement. But there is no zero-sum game here. Indeed, it is ironic that policies and practices that are particularly responsive to the needs of students of color are likely to be the best things we could do to enhance the learning of all students.

For next time…
The next issue of TIR will discuss a recent judicial order – prompted by the U.S. Justice Department – to desegregate a Mississippi school system.

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
The Integration Report


1 Dasgupta, N., McGhee, D. E., Greenwald, A.G., & Banaji, M. R. (2000). Automatic preference for White Americans: Ruling out the familiarity explanation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36, 316-328..
2 National Research Council. (2004). Measuring racial discrimination. Washington, DC: National Academy of Education.
3 Orfield, G. (2009). Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge. Los Angeles: UCLA Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.
4 Brief of 553 Social Scientists in Support of Respondents, Parents Involved in Community Schs. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1 and Crystal D. Meredith v. Jefferson County Bd. of Educ., Nos. 05 908 & 05-915 (Sp. Ct. 2006) (“Social Science Brief”).
5 Nye, B., Hedges, L., & Kontsantopoulos , S. (2004). How large are teacher effects? Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 26, 237-257; Rice, J. (2003). Teacher quality: Understanding the influence of teacher attributes. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.
6 For support related to the topics in this section, see: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi/uir_intro
To access this resource, log in at http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi
7 For support related to the topics in this section, see: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi/cb_intro
To access this resource, log in at http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi
8 For support related to the topics in this section, see: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi/taxonomy_vtn/term/13
To access this resource, log in at http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi
9 For support related to the topics in this section, see: http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi/schools-survey
To access this resource, log in at http://www.tolerance.org/tdsi


Contents

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News Summary

Please send us your news
Please send reports, documents, court decisions, comments or suggestions for topics to: The Integration Report, Editor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, at integrationrept@ucla.edu.

We are looking for any information regarding changes to transportation routes that may adversely affect racial diversity in light of increasing fuel costs. Please let us know if these issues are being discussed in your communities.

Editor’s Note: A number of articles continue to focus on developments in Wake County, North Carolina’s. They appear first, in chronological order. Several other groups of articles were placed together for the sake of general cohesion; otherwise articles appear in the order published.

School board ends economic diversity busing
North Carolina’s largest school district has reversed a policy that was once considered a model for schools wanting to maintain diversity based on economics instead of race. In a heated public meeting in Raleigh, the Wake County school board voted 5 to 4 to approve a new policy that would place students in schools near their homes. That drew angry chants from opponents, who fear the new policy will lead to the “re-segregation” of wealthy, predominantly white, students to suburban schools and low-income children to high-poverty schools.
http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/24/school-board-ends-economic-diversity-busing/?test=latestnews

Diversity supporters play offense
The new Wake County school board majority’s plan to abandon the use of socioeconomic diversity will be fought every step of the way by groups that vow to block efforts to implement neighborhood schools. Supporters of Wake’s diversity policy say they’re not deterred by the board’s 5-4 vote Tuesday to end decades of busing for racial and income diversity in favor of sending children to schools in their communities. The leaders of the largest opposition groups say they plan to scrutinize every step that the board will take over the next nine to fifteen months to develop the new system, from lobbying the public to potentially taking legal action.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/25/405668/diversity-supporters-play-offense.html

Busing to end in Wake County, N.C. Goodbye, school diversity?
For a decade, Wake County, N.C., used busing to avoid having schools with high concentrations of students from poor families. Its school board voted to abandon its income-diversity goal in favor of a return to neighborhood schools. The Wake County, N.C., school district has decided to reverse its income-based integration plan, which served as a national model for a decade as school systems sought alternatives to traditional racial-balancing plans.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0324/Busing-to-end-in-Wake-County-N.C.-Goodbye-school-diversity

Three arrested, about 20 removed from controversial school board meeting
At the Wake, North Carolina school board where a historic vote to end busing for diversity in the county is expected, police removed around 20 people, many of whom appeared to be in their teens and early 20s, who refused to quiet down after they started loudly chanting in the hallway outside the board meeting room.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/23/403350/wake-school-board-expected-to.html

Peaceful student protest turns ugly after barring from public meeting
“No resegregation in our town. Shut it down” were the chants student protesters and others shouted when they were shut out of a public meeting in Wake County (NC). Three group members were arrested; another 20 were removed from the hallway outside the meeting room. At the heart of the protest is a school assignment process that has been in place since the mid 1970s that balanced the school population based on a diversity formula. John Dornan, Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, worries the return to neighborhood school assignment patterns will cluster low-income, minority students in low-income urban schools cheating many students out of a sound, basic education.
http://www.examiner.com/x-32247-Parenting-Tweens-Examiner~y2010m3d24-Peaceful-student-protest-turns-ugly-after-barring-from-public-meeting

Shortchanging students now and in the future
Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, says the Wake County School Board’s move away from its diversity policy will most certainly have a lasting and negative impact on students who are stuck in high-poverty schools. Those unlucky students will experience less qualified teachers and greater teacher turnover. Kahlenberg adds without the benefit of diverse schools, others will struggle academically and never dream about the opportunity of higher education.
http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2010/03/23/shortchanging-students-now-and-in-the-future/

Will bus costs fall in Wake?
Before Chris Malone won election to the Wake County school board last fall, he predicted that the system could save as much as $20 million annually by replacing diversity-related busing with a community-schools assignment system. Last week, Malone’s prediction was far less specific. He said only that the savings from cutting busing based on diversity would be “substantial,” the same description used by John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, the Raleigh-based conservative think tank. The question of future busing costs holds few certainties, but one is that Wake’s financially stressed system will continue to transport tens of thousands of students by bus to get them to school. Another is that any savings in the state’s $45 million portion of the schools’ transportation costs of about $56 million would revert to the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/22/401373/as-schools-shift-will-bus-costs.html

Wake urged to save ‘a jewel’
A panel of national and local education researchers and retired Wake County school administrators urged the community Saturday to fight to maintain the school system’s socioeconomic diversity policy. Panelists praised Wake’s diversity efforts as a national model and told a crowd of more than 400 people that research shows that high-poverty schools will lead to a drop in academic quality and a negative impact on the economy of the county. The forum took place as the Wake school board is poised to give final approval Tuesday to a resolution that scraps busing for diversity in favor of neighborhood schools.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/21/399684/wake-urged-to-save-a-jewel.html

Bonded by schools
A recent gathering of architects and planners in Raleigh, North Carolina listened as lecturers spoke of sustainable and resilient urban life. The professionals learned that walkable schools are one means of maintaining a healthy urban community. This theme went that neighborhood schools promote healthy students, save energy and relieve congestion while strengthening ties that bind the immediate community.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/21/397767/in-the-schools-the-diversity-debate.html

Group names clergy who signed Wake schools petition
A group on Sunday released the names of 33 religious leaders who have signed a statement asking the Wake County Board of Education to keep its student-assignment policies based on socioeconomic diversity. The Wake County Clergy Coalition issued the statement Friday calling for further study and public input before the school board votes on a resolution implementing community assignment zones, in which students go to schools closer to their homes.
http://www.wral.com/news/education/story/7273116/

Diversity policy supporters urge parents to get involved
In just three days, school board members are scheduled to take a final vote on changing the diversity policy to a zone-based school assignment plan. Saturday, parents against the change held a forum to encourage people to get involved with the school board. On March 2nd, board members took the first steps to change to community based schools, a move some parents are afraid will resegregate schools. With one child already in Wake schools and another headed there, Berg said she’s worried the current school board will cause good schools in Wake County to disappear.
http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/49700/diversity-policy-supporters-urge-parents-to-get-involved

Clergy wants Wake board to wait on school assignment vote
A group of more than 20 ministers, priests and rabbis are calling on the Wake County Board of Education to postpone a vote next week having to do with a controversial community-based student assignment plan. “We are convinced that the proposed changes of abandoning the current integration policies, however well-meaning they may be, do in fact lead to a re-segregation of our schools,” the Wake County Clergy Coalition said in a news release Friday. The school board voted 5-4 this month in favor of a resolution to begin plans to move away from the school system’s policy of busing students to help ensure each school is socioeconomically diverse.
http://www.wral.com/news/education/story/7264298/

Wake group warns of ending school diversity policy
A local group of parents and business leaders said Wednesday that the consequences of ending the Wake County Public School System’s longstanding student assignment policy could be dangerous. The Great Schools in Wake Coalition held a news conference in Raleigh in which education researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill presented their opinions based on years of research. Schools with students from lower-income families would not be able to attract or retain high-quality, experienced teachers, because the schools would not be able to compensate with higher salaries, the researchers said.
http://www.wral.com/news/education/story/7250705/

Talk of dividing Wake fizzles
Wake County school board Chairman Ron Margiotta caused a stir this week when he said that the 140,000-student district is too big and should be split up. But on Friday, Margiotta and board allies said they have no intention of pursuing such a major change. Margiotta, at a meeting Thursday of the Northern Wake Republican Club, said the county is so large and so different from one border to another that its school system could fare better as autonomous regions or even separate districts. On Friday, he said those statements were strictly his personal opinion and not a board goal.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/13/386246/talk-of-dividing-wake-fizzles.html

Wake school board chairman suggests splitting up district
At a Northern Wake County Republican Club, Ron Margiotta, chairman of the Wake County school system, suggested the board may split the county school district into smaller districts. In November, four new members were elected to the school board, creating a new majority that has made sweeping changes, including ending year-round schools and busing for diversity. The school system used to be split between the city of Raleigh and the county. The systems merged in 1976.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/12/384801/wake-school-board-chairman-suggests.html

NC school leader on leave until he resigns
A racially charged debate about school diversity in North Carolina has resulted in the superintendent of the Wake County schools being placed on administrative leave until his resignation is effective. Multiple media outlets reported that 56-year-old Del Burns will be available for consultation and will be paid until his resignation is effective June 30. The chief academic officer of the 140,000-student system will become acting superintendent.
The move Tuesday comes after the board voted last week to end a policy of maintaining diversity by assigning students to schools based on their socio-economic backgrounds.
Burns announced his resignation last month, saying he could not in good conscience carry out the directives of the new school board majority.
http://www.reflector.com/state-news/nc-school-leader-leave-until-he-resigns-26512

Housing is key to school equality
There’s been a great deal of discussion about the new Wake County school board’s desire to move toward neighborhood schools and eliminate the school system’s diversity policy. What’s missing from this conversation is the effect these decisions have on neighborhoods and housing patterns. Where you can afford to live determines where you go to school. Instead of ensuring that housing is affordable for all incomes throughout the county, Wake County’s lack of planning has resulted in entire areas becoming unaffordable to rent or purchase for families earning below the median income of $76,900. It has also created areas of concentrated poverty, in part because of the lack of inclusionary housing in newly developed and redeveloped areas around Wake County.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/07/372352/housing-is-key-school-equality.html

Wake student assignment policy sparks passionate debate
Wake County’s student assignment policy may go from the board room potentially to the court room. The North Carolina NAACP Chapter sent board Chairman Ron Margiotta a letter indicating “all legal options are on the table” as the organization watches the board move toward community based assignments. “This policy is going to create high poverty schools in violation of our federal and state Constitution,” said the NAACP’s Rev. William Barber.
http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/48882/wake-schools-diversity-policy-sparks-passionate-debate

Once a leader in school diversity, NC retrenches
When North Carolina’s Wake County decided to do away with race-based busing to desegregate schools, local officials came up with a novel solution to maintain balance. The new method of assigning students by their socio-economic background rather than race helped to keep campuses integrated. Adopted in 2000, it quickly became a blueprint for other school systems.
That policy, however, has never sat well with many suburban parents — often white and middle class — who argue that the student assignment plan sends their kids too far from home. And a new school board, swept into office by those vocal parents, appears poised to scrap it in a vote scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gJUeLBbrGWWfnhAN8ik0m_CZ_33gD9E6CDH83

District may end N.C. economic diversity program
When Rosemarie Wilson moved her family to a wealthy suburb of Raleigh a couple of years ago, the biggest attraction was the prestige of the local public schools. Then she started talking to neighbors. “Children from the 450 houses in our subdivision were being bused all across the city,” said Ms. Wilson, for whom the final affront was a proposal by the Wake County Board of Education to send her two daughters to schools 17 miles from home. So she vented her anger at the polls, helping elect four new Republican-backed education board members last fall. Now in the majority, those board members are trying to make good on campaign promises to end Wake’s nationally recognized income-based busing policy.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/us/28raleigh.html

Hundreds march for diversity policy, 14-point plan
About one thousand people marched on Jones street in Raleigh to promote fourteen ideas they say will help improve life in North Carolina. Calling for universal healthcare, immigration reform, an end to the death penalty and other reforms, hundreds of people came to the NAACP’s fourth annual “Historic Thousands on Jones” march. Organizers say the debate on Wake County’s diversity policy didn’t spark the march, but it sure added fuel to the fire.”If they wanted a fight, then they’ve got one,” State NAACP President William Barber II said.
http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/48705/hundreds-march-for-diversity-policy-14-point-plan/

Wake panel declines to change diversity policy
The Facilities Committee of the Wake County School Board once again declined to change the wording of the district’s student assignment policy Wednesday – saying the issue needs more analysis. Board member Chris Malone made a motion to make a change, but it failed for lack of a second. After a heated and emotional discussion the policy committee decided not to make changes just yet.
http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=7295445

Departing Wake schools leader explains his decision
Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns explained today that he’s resigning his position because he’s not comfortable carrying out the sweeping changes proposed by the new school board majority. Burns had surprised school board members on Tuesday by announcing that he’s resigning effective June 30 because he could no longer in “good conscience” stay on as superintendent. He elaborated on his reasons today, citing the new board majority’s elimination of weekly Wednesday early dismissals and proposed elimination of the diversity policy.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/02/18/345865/departing-wake-school-leader-explains.html

Integration news summaries from other parts of the country:
Photo leads to changes at charter school

Union Academy officials say they will deal with diversity issues more explicitly.
A Monroe, North Carolina charter school intends to expand its diversity studies curriculum and revise policies after three eighth-graders tried to put a KKK picture in a black student’s locker this month. John Pando, the father of the student targeted in the incident at Union Academy, said he thought the school’s initial punishment of the three white students was inadequate for what he considered a hate crime. They received 11/2 days of in-school suspension, could not participate in sports during that time and had to attend two four-hour Saturday detentions that included an educational component on race relations.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/03/29/1343441/photo-leads-to-changes-at-charter.html

Is my child eligible for transportation under the Post-Unitary Status Plan?
Tucson, Arizona prepares for post-unitary status. The following guidelines apply: if you choose a school through Open Enrollment, your child may be eligible for transportation. If you reside in the attendance area of a school belonging to a different group from the school your child attends, then your child is eligible for transportation, providing you meet the following qualifications from Policy EEA, Student Transportation in School Buses: Students attending elementary school who live 1 1/2 miles or more from school. Middle school students or sixth grade students who are assigned to a junior high school who live at least 2 1/2 miles from school with no public bus service.
http://tusd1.org/contents/distinfo/pup/transportation.asp

School desegregation hearing ‘important step’
The Decatur City Board of Education (Georgia) knows when it might get a final hearing on its unitary status request. United States District Judge R. David Proctor held a status conference on Thursday in Birmingham with attorneys for the school board, plaintiffs and U.S. Department of Justice. The school board is seeking freedom from federal desegregation oversight.
http://www.decaturdaily.com/detail/56569.html

Schools moving ahead with diversity plan
When Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (Michigan) officials bought into Courageous Conversations in fall 2008, the idea was to improve the district’s ability to understand minority perspectives and create an environment for academic success for students of color. On Tuesday, the Board of Education gathered for an extensive review of the district’s diversity plan, which included a conversation about the merits of Courageous Conversations, a few months ahead of a decision whether to continue it. Nothing was settled, but it’s clear pretty much everyone agrees on two things: The district has come a long way, and there’s still work to do.
http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20100325/NEWS03/3250629

Perdue hates busing, favors diversity in schools
Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina weighed in on the Wake County diversity debate – sort of. Asked this week about the Wake County Board of Education’s decision to end busing for socioeconomic reasons in favor of neighborhood schools, Perdue seemed to favor the old system, reports Rob Christensen.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/03/25/406375/perdue-hates-busing-favors-diversity.html

Collier School Board works out details of diversity committee resurrected after ‘kick a Jew day’
An outraged public led to the formation of a committee to better understand diversity. But the Collier County School District (Florida) still has some work to do to make the committee effective. That was the consensus after the Collier County School Board received the first draft of a diversity committee mission and purpose last week. The Collier County School Board voted 4 to 1 in December to reinstate the district’s diversity committee. Board member Steve Donovan was the lone dissenting vote.
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/mar/23/collier-school-board-works-out-details-diversity-c/

Faculty doesn’t mirror student diversity in Skokie
Skokie, Illinois school districts in recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the cultural diversity of their students, mirroring the village’s changing demographics. But the ethnic background of their faculties has not experienced the same change. All 10 school districts in Skokie still have predominantly white teaching staffs even if in most cases fewer than half the students they teach are white. School districts close to home and across the country want more culturally diverse teaching staffs, but the goal has proved difficult to achieve.
http://www.pioneerlocal.com/skokie/news/2116191,skokie-teacher-032510-s2.article

Districts turn to next step
Learning community school districts in Omaha, Nebraska received a total of 1,859 applications for open enrollment slots for next school year. Low-income students submitted 496 applications — about one in four. The enrollment period is closed, and schools officials will now turn to the next step under the state’s diversity plan for Douglas and Sarpy Counties: matching children to available slots. The voluntary plan, new this year, aims to move poor children to affluent schools, and vice versa, so the enrollment in every school reflects the overall balance of higher-income and lower-income students in the learning community. This year, the learning community overall has 40 percent low-income students.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20100321/NEWS01/703219902

First transfer test coming
Rob and Jaci Heldenbrand of Omaha figure the chances are pretty slim that their daughter, Sara, will get accepted for open enrollment next year to Elkhorn High School. A letter they received from the district suggested as much. “They say they have three ninth-grade spots open,” said Jaci Heldenbrand, who lives in the northwest part of the Omaha school district. Elkhorn’s space pinch — despite opening a new high school next school year — is typical of some rapidly growing suburban school districts in this first year of the learning community’s new diversity plan.
Not only are some parents likely to be disappointed in their options, but given the limits on transfers in some districts, there’s a strong likelihood of only marginal progress toward state lawmakers’ goal of creating more socioeconomic diversity in Douglas and Sarpy County schools.
Districts have closed 23 schools to open-enrollment transfers — one of five outside of Omaha Public Schools buildings — citing enrollment projections for next school year that exceed their building capacities.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20100307/NEWS01/703079899/0/FRONTPAGE

East, Beechview (Michigan) parents and students protest proposed redistricting plan
On Friday, a group of about 45 parents and students gathered at East Middle School carrying signs protesting a proposed redistricting plan that moves East neighborhood students to Warner and Dunckel Middle Schools next year. The proposal comes on the heels of a recent financially-motivated decision to close four elementary schools next year and divide grade levels into Kindergarten through fourth, fifth and sixth and seventh and eighth grades. The administration proposed the plan at the March 16 school board meeting, citing socioeconomic diversity in schools, equity in enrollment numbers and keeping students together to the extent possible as rationale for the proposed plan.
http://www.examiner.com/x-22625-Farmington-Family-Examiner~y2010m3d21-East-Beechview-parents-and-students-protest-proposed-redistricting-plan

Elementary zones part of Rockford, Illinois schools’ strategic plan draft
Rockford School District could adopt a school assignment plan for elementary students based on geographic zones in 2011-12, under a draft, five-year strategic plan unveiled by Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield today. Sheffield made the announcement at an education summit attended by more than 400 teachers, parents, administrators and community members at Eisenhower Middle School. A return to neighborhood elementary schools is among several steps outlined in the draft of the strategic plan, dubbed Visualize 2015, that the School Board would be asked to approve in June.
http://www.rrstar.com/carousel/x99760413/Elementary-zones-part-of-Rockford-schools-strategic-plan-draft

High school transfer policy on the way out for Portland, OR schools?
Lost in the drama of sign-carrying parents protesting potential school closings is a more groundbreaking change in Portland’s high school reorganization: The school district could dismantle its signature practice — 30 years in the making — of allowing students to transfer among neighborhood high schools. But now, district leaders admit that the transfers have hurt their high schools, creating and perpetuating inequities in enrollment, course offerings and money. Most admit the flaws and some go so far as to call the policy a flat-out failure that puts a higher value on parent choice than on serving all students well.
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/03/high_school_transfers_out_in_p.html

Parents fight for diversity at Eagle school
District tries to tackle overcrowding as Brush Creek Elementary reaches capacity

Eagle County, Colorado school officials are considering changing school boundaries in Eagle to alleviate overcrowding at Brush Creek Elementary. One proposal would move 78 students from Brush Creek Elementary to Eagle Valley Elementary School.
http://www.vaildaily.com/article/20100318/NEWS/100319526/1078&ParentProfile=1062

Ackerman: Magnet proposal now dead, was a surprise
In response to newly released MSAP funding guidelines, Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said yesterday that she did not support changing magnet-school admissions requirements to increase diversity, and declared the proposal dead.
http://www.philly.com/philly/news/homepage/88525442.html

Lawyers wrangle at schools hearing
A break in testimony Wednesday afternoon during the Pulaski County Special School District (Arkansas) desegregation hearing gave way to a spirited exchange among attorneys and a federal judge about the motives of the parties in the long-running school case.
http://www.apsrc.net/Newsletter/NewsletterDisplay.asp?p1=29&p2=Y&Sort=

Pulaski County Special School District desegregation hearing
The Pulaski County Special School District (Arkansas) pled its case in federal court for release from a desegregation lawsuit. Little Rock successfully petitioned for release and North Little Rock’s case is under advisement. Attorneys for PCSSD say the district is in compliance and is ready to move forward without federal supervision.”We don’t have perfect outcomes but the law doesn’t require perfect outcomes,” says attorney Sam Jones. Now it’s up to PCSSD to convince a federal judge of this. The school district believes it has met desegregation requirements and therefore the judge should release it from federal supervision. Monday in court the district presented several points as proof.
http://www.cwarkansas.com/news/local/story/Pulaski-County-Special-School-District/EVaGceBPDEiNfKLm3_8aow.cspx

Court oversight should end, say experts in court
Pulaski County Special School District (Arkansas) is unitary–or desegregated–for purposes of discipline, student enrollment and teacher assignment, more so than most districts that have been declared unitary and more than most districts in the United States, experts testified Monday and Tuesday before District Judge Brian S. Miller. While simple numbers show that blacks are more likely to be disciplined than whites, economic status and not race is the determining factor in all areas of achievement and discipline nationwide, Christine Rossell testified Tuesday. Robert Pressman, an attorney for the Joshua Intervenors, spent about two hours attacking Rossell’s credibility and challenging her methods and motivation.
http://www.arkansasleader.com/2010/03/top-story-court-oversight-should-end.html

Judge favors schools’ revamp
A federal judge on Tuesday approved a planned restructuring of the Jackson-Madison County School System (Tennessee), clearing the way for the district’s intermediate schools to be eliminated starting next year. The plan would convert the system to a set of grades K-5 elementary schools, 6-8 middle schools and 9-12 high schools and would also involve some rezoning.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20100317/NEWS01/3170310/1002/Judge-favors-schools–revamp

Feds won’t oppose reorganization plans
In its response to Jackson-Madison County School’s reorganization plan, the United States Department of Justice said the plan would neither further nor hinder desegregation efforts.
The Justice Department filed its response stating that it did not oppose the plan in federal court on Friday, which was the deadline set by U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. during a Feb. 26 status conference held in Memphis. Justice Department officials received the school system’s plan on Feb. 16 and asked for additional information to include projected student enrollment data by school and by race as well as larger and clearer maps of attendance zones.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20100313/NEWS01/3130307

S.F. adopts new school-assignment system
The San Francisco school board Tuesday adopted a new system for assigning students to schools, a hybrid plan that immediately came under fire for failing to pick a side in a long-running battle between neighborhood schools and diverse schools. The new system was years in the making, as district officials attempted to sort out a way to balance the demands of parents and lawyers on both sides of the debate given the de facto segregation across city neighborhoods. What emerged was a compromise. It gives children living in census tracts where students post the lowest test scores – typically low-income and minority communities – priority to attend high-demand schools. Those in the school’s attendance areas would be next in line, followed by other students who want to attend those schools.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/09/MNKM1CD8MJ.DTL

Vote on S.F. school assignment plan Tuesday
After years of debate, delay and endless controversy, the San Francisco school board will vote Tuesday on a new student assignment system – a hybrid plan that offers choice, prioritizes proximity to a school and addresses the needs of struggling students. It’s a compromise that gives a nod both to parents who have asked for a choice in where they send their children to school and parents who want a spot in the school down the street. The proposal on the table, however, would do little in the short term to address de facto segregation in district K-12 schools, a high priority for some school board members, but not necessarily for parents. The proposed system would give priority to those living in census tracts where students post the lowest test scores. Twenty percent of district students are in that category. The proposal would give parents of those children a better shot at getting the program they feel would best serve their child. In the long term, it might also increase diversity in schools, district officials said.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/08/BA291CBEOG.DTL

New plan on school selection, but still discontent
After years of complaints from parents, the San Francisco Unified School District has just taken a serious step toward revamping its well-meaning but labyrinthine student-assignment system, which decides the educational homes for tens of thousands of children. What everyone agrees on is that the current system is broken. In a quarter of San Francisco’s public schools, more than 60 percent of the student body is of a single race, and academic performance by black, Latino and Samoan students continues to lag. In theory, parents choose up to seven schools for their child, but 20 percent of kindergarteners get none of their parents’ choices. All of which has been a boon for private schools; San Francisco has a larger percentage of students in private schools — nearly 3 out of 10 — than any other major city in the state.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/education/21sfschool.html

Floyd school cuts include scrapping diversity office
As part of a 1994 settlement of a federal civil rights investigation, the New Albany-Floyd County (Indiana) School Board established the predecessor to what became known as the school district’s office of equity and diversity aimed at preventing racial discrimination. But last week, the board voted to eliminate that office in a sweeping package of spending cuts totaling $5.6 million. That decision has raised concerns about whether the 11,758-student system will continue to seek fairness and diversity in hiring – or, for that matter, has ever done as much as it can.
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100316/NEWS02/303160067/Floyd+school+cuts+include+scrapping+diversity+office

Schools get specific on race
Education: New guidelines will add nationalities, tribal affiliations

South Sound, Washington schools will soon see their diversity at a new level, as schools throughout the state reclassify families by ethnicity as part of new state guidelines. The six ethnic and racial groupings for which the state has collected information – white, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic or American Indian – will be expanded to nearly 60. The possibilities include all the federally recognized American Indian tribes in Washington, more than a dozen different Asian nationalities, and eight different Hispanic nationalities.
http://www.theolympian.com/2010/03/16/1173802/schools-get-specific-on-race.html

Boston Public Schools to try once more with changes to school assignment policies
School officials and civil-rights groups will meet March 27 to consider possible ways to save money on busing while ensuring families have access to decent schools – with the help of a federal grant. In recent years, school officials have tried repeatedly to figure out a way to increase the number of assignment zones for elementary schools to reduce busing costs. They shelved the most recent plan – to go from three to five zones – last summer because most of the city’s underperforming schools would have been lumped together in the same zone.
http://www.universalhub.com/2010/boston-public-schools-try-once-more-changes-school

BPS to hold student assignment summit later this month
Boston Public Schools, along with several civil rights groups, will convene a Golden Opportunity summit to look at student assignment in this city on March 27. Last year, Boston received a two-year federal grant to work with community members to improve school assignment options. They will also study how other urban schools equitably make school assignments. Eventually, the groups hope to make recommendations to the school committee on ways to redesign the student assignment and school choice policies.
http://bravingthelottery.blogspot.com/2010/03/bps-to-hold-student-assignment-summit.html

Louisville busing supporters worried about impact of Wake school board elections
The push toward neighborhood schools in Wake County has definitely caught the eye of those who support socioeconomic diversity, both nationally and in Louisville. The Jefferson County school system, which contains Louisville, was one of the districts in the landmark 2007 U.S. Supreme Court case that restricted the use of race in student assignment. Jefferson County school officials had looked to Wake for help in developing an assignment policy driven by socio-economic diversity.
http://blogs.newsobserver.com/wakeed/louisville-busing-supporters-worried-about-impact-of-wake-school-board-elections

School systems are emerging from judicial oversight that once ensured compliance with integration guidelines
Skin color once determined which schools Alabama students had to attend. State schools have worked for decades to remove the last vestiges of that system of inequality under the watchful eye of the federal courts. But now there are some officials who say the need for oversight, for the majority of schools, is no longer necessary.
http://www.annistonstar.com/view/full_story/6709943/article-School-systems-are-emerging-from-judicial-oversight-that-once-ensured-compliance-with-integration-guidelines

Proposed boundary changes await vote of School Board
Sixty-five elementary students await a vote by the Board of Education to determine which school they’ll attend next fall. On March 22, the Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) City Schools Attendance Boundary Committee intends to recommend revamped attendance boundaries; the move would alter 65 youngsters’ assignments to DeWitt, Lincoln, Price and Silver Lake elementaries for the next school year.
http://www.news-record.com/content/2010/03/12/article/magnet_schools_undergo_review

A modest proposal for diversity at specialized schools
The only way into the New York City’s seven specialized high schools is a high score on a one-time exam. But while black and Hispanic students make up half of test-takers, but they represent only a tiny proportion of students at the schools, which include Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.
http://gothamschools.org/2010/03/10/a-modest-proposal-for-diversity-at-specialized-schools/

Wide variation in assignment and ‘choice’ policies in transportation, legal expert says
Peggy Burns, Esq., of Education Compliance Group, said she is not convinced that a neighborhood schools “movement” even exists where local control is embraced, especially in her home state of Colorado. Transportation can be viewed as a tool that can help ensure school choice and educational equality. But there seems to be no common denominator in how school choice is implemented. Burns says school assignment varies district by district in her state, and school choice has many different faces.
http://www.stnonline.com/home/latest-news/2171-wide-variation-in-assignment-and-choice-policies-in-transportation-legal-expert-says

Morehouse rejects plan for schools
Morehouse Parish Schools (Louisiana) Superintendent Tom Thrower said Monday that a consolidation plan drawn by the Department of Justice will cost his district more than $4 million to implement and will require students to travel greater distances than the district’s proposal. Morehouse Parish schools, like most districts in the South, remain under a federal desegregation order and must prove that any proposed changes do not adversely effect the racial balance of schools within the district or cause undue hardship on any particular student group. Thrower said that the federal government contended in the mediation that the Morehouse Parish plan was rejected because it adversely affected the desegregation order.
http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20100309/NEWS01/3090307

Attorney to monitor race issue in Richmond, Georgia schools
By the end of this month, Augusta, Georgia attorney Ben Allen says, he’ll start visiting Richmond County schools as part of efforts to resolve a federal desegregation order the school system has operated under since 1964. In December, the desegregation order came up in a county school board retreat, where board members were told a settlement might be reached in the next year. Officials have said several steps, including infrastructure improvements, have been taken to address the order in Richmond County. But the board has agreed that more work is needed, with some saying certain schools are still referred to as white or black schools.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2010-03-09/attorney-monitor-race-issue-richmond-schools?v=1268092862

School Board, attorney meet behind closed doors
Board spent nearly 25 minutes in an attorney-client meeting Monday evening before starting the work session. The purpose of the closed meeting was to discuss the Feb. 26 status conference with the federal judge in Memphis on its 47-year-old desegregation lawsuit. Attorneys involved in the desegregation lawsuit will present arguments on Sept. 20 to the judge. The school system is trying to obtain full unitary status, which would allow it to make decisions about student assignment, faculty assignment, facilities, extra-curricular activities and transportation without federal oversight. The system was given partial unitary status last August. Student assignment is the last remaining issue to resolve.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20100309/NEWS01/3090304

Officials step up enforcement of rights laws in education
Seeking to step up enforcement of civil rights laws, the federal Department of Education says it will be sending letters in coming weeks to thousands of school districts and colleges, outlining their responsibilities on issues of fairness and equal opportunity. As part of that effort, the department intends to open investigations known as compliance reviews in about 32 school districts nationwide, seeking to verify that students of both sexes and all races are getting equal access to college preparatory curriculums and to advanced placement courses. The department plans to open similar civil rights investigations at half a dozen colleges.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/08/education/08educ.html

Diversity needed here
Education Secretary Arne Duncan selected the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Monday to announce the Obama administration’s plans to toughen civil rights enforcement in schools nationwide. This initiative will touch on various topics from academics to discipline. In his remarks Duncan said the Education Department’s civil rights office has not practiced the kind of vigilance it should have. Duncan said his department soon will conduct a review to determine whether students have equal access to opportunities, including college-preparatory classes. He said he will issue guidelines to public schools and colleges to address fairness. While the Education Department is working on its fairness doctrine it also needs to work on the issue of resegregation of schools.
http://www.selmatimesjournal.com/news/2010/mar/08/diversity-needed-here/

ECISD is planning for the future
When the Ector County Independent School District (Texas) board of trustees voted to approve the settlement agreement, declaring ECISD desegregated, faces were lit up, and voices were ecstatic. Trustees, administrators and the members of CRUCIAL and the Tri-ethnic Committee all looked as if a great weight had been lifted off of their shoulders. More than 50 years after the Supreme Court had ruled that a little girl in Topeka, Kan., could not be denied admission to a school because of her race, ECISD was finally, officially desegregated. Since race can no longer be a factor, the school district will have to step around it, Lerch said, using things like magnet programs and economic factors to keep student and teacher populations diverse. Once the district comes out from under the court order, it’s the programs and the approach that will keep them from falling back into segregated patterns, Lerch said. “They’ve proved over and over again that if you get the right program in place and show the community it’s not harming anybody in the school, then people will flock to it,” Lerch said.
http://www.oaoa.com/news/ecisd-44029-school-desegregated.html

Fields names expert witness in deseg case
Memphis attorney Richard Fields has named school consultant Leonard Stevens, of Sarasota, Fla., as his expert on school desegregation. Fields represents the plaintiffs in Jackson-Madison
County Schools’ 47-year-old desegregation lawsuit. In Minneapolis, Stevens worked in planning to assist the school district with an integration plan.” He’s the most experienced expert we have,” Fields said. “He’s been in virtually every major school case in the last 30 years.”
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20100306/NEWS01/3060307

Judge OKs Tangipahoa school desegregation plan
A federal court judge has approved the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s desegregation plan calling for construction of new schools, creation of magnet programs and nearly $200 million in new taxes, court records show. U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, of New Orleans, signed the order Thursday that approved the school board’s plan with some modifications. “We are extremely happy with this great news,” parish Schools Superintendent Mark Kolwe said in a written statement. “This plan is virtually identical to the proposed order our attorneys submitted in response to the judge’s request. The court’s order sets out a plan that has the potential to make the Tangipahoa Parish School System a world-class public education system.”
http://www.wwltv.com/home/Judge-OKs-Tangipahoa-school-desegregation-plan-86581717.html

Tangipahoa desegregation deal passes
A federal court judge approved on Thursday the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s desegregation plan calling for construction of new schools, creation of magnet programs and nearly $200 million in new taxes, court records show. U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, of New Orleans, signed the order Thursday that approved the School Board’s plan with some modifications.
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/education/86485472.html

Seattle public schools open enrollment underway for 2010-2011 school year
Under Seattle Public Schools (SPS) new student assignment plan, students currently enrolled are “grandfathered” through the highest grade of the school they currently attend, providing that services they need are available at that school. Students in the highest grade at their current school (rising from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school) will receive an assignment to their attendance area school, or another school based on availability of services. The new plan will be implemented in phases beginning in 2010-11, with most students entering grades K, 6 and 9 assigned to their attendance area schools. If the family wants the assignment noted in the February letter, no further action is needed. However, if the family wants to apply for a different attendance area school or an Option school, they may do so during the open enrollment period. Option Schools are the schools that, in the New Student Assignment Plan, do not have a specific attendance area boundary. http://www.seattlemedium.com/News/article/article.asp?NewsID=101697&sID=4&ItemSource=L

East Meck to be biggest IB high school
Upcoming opening of the new Rocky River High frees space for expanded magnet program.

East Mecklenburg High is poised to host Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s largest high-school IB magnet program with 776 students next year, while Myers Park’s shrinks from 553 to 324, lottery results released Wednesday show. Families at both schools worry that losing students will cost them talented teachers. The IB magnet attracts strong, highly motivated students and requires teachers who can lead advanced classes.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/03/04/1287089/east-meck-to-be-biggest-ib-high.html

East Alabama school district works to end desegregation order
Back in 1971, a judge issued the order to end the practice of dual school systems, one for whites, the other for blacks. Nearly 40 years later, the Calhoun County School District is working to comply with the order. For the last year, the district has been working on a plan to show it has complied with the desegregation order. Now it’ll have three years to work on it. The Calhoun County Board of Education is working with the Justice Department on this three year plan that could bring them out from under this desegregation order. The main problem: personnel. The district’s student population is about 14 percent minority. A judge would like to see Calhoun County hire more minority teachers and administrators. Right now, it has just over four percent.
http://www2.nbc13.com/vtm/news/local/article/east_ala._school_district_works_to_end_desegregation_order/135509/

School desegregation case coming to an end
In federal court Monday, Judge Ann Conway set up what will likely be the final stage of Orange County (Florida) Schools nearly 50-year desegregation lawsuit. In federal court, where cameras were not allowed, the judge set a hearing date for those who have vestiges in the case to come forward with any objections to the settlement. Earlier this year, the Orange County School Board voted on the settlement terms agreed upon by the plaintiffs in the case. Now it’s up to the federal court to put its stamp of approval.
http://www.cfnews13.com/Education/EducationHeadlines/2010/3/1/judge_wants_more_facts_in_school_desegregation_case.html

Report: consolidate Ohio’s 613 school districts
A new report says Ohio is spending too much on local school administration and not enough on student instruction because it has far too many individual school districts. If the Brookings Institution and the Greater Ohio Policy Center had their way, we might, emphasis on might, see districts like Finneytown Local Schools being pushed to merge with its neighboring suburban school districts in Mount Healthy and North College Hill. The groups say 613 school districts in Ohio is about a third, or over 200 districts, too many. Their newly released report “Restoring Prosperity” recommends the state to look at consolidating as many as 200 of its smaller public school districts into larger ones. It says the money saved on district administration could be put into improving student instruction across the state.
http://www.wcpo.com/news/local/story/Report-Consolidate-Ohios-613-School-Districts/xQnURb5Cw0KabRxOk0AxsQ.cspx

Decades later, still separate and unequal
Today, the norm for schools in the greater Milwaukee region remains one of profound racial and ethnic segregation. In 1996, 78% of the students in Milwaukee Public Schools were students of color. Today, this has grown to 85%. Nearly all neighboring districts are the mirror image of MPS: three in four students are white. The irony of honoring Bridges in a school, region and country where schools remain deeply divided by race and ethnicity should drive us to reflect upon the work before us.
http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/85569432.html

Ravenswood, California desegregation program questioned
Each weekday morning a school bus picks up Rivera’s 6-year-old daughter, Katya, and takes her across Highway 101 to the more affluent Menlo Park City School District, where she is a first-grader at Oak Knoll Elementary School. Katya is one of about 900 minority students who live within Ravenswood’s boundaries in East Palo Alto or east Menlo Park but attend school in seven nearby districts through the “voluntary transfer program” known as Tinsley. The program, launched in 1987, allows families who live within the boundaries of the Ravenswood City School District to apply to transfer their children to other districts, from Palo Alto north to Belmont-Redwood Shores. Of the 22 Tinsley students who graduated from Palo Alto high schools in 2009, 10 said they planned to attend four-year colleges and 11 said they would enroll in two-year programs, according to data district Superintendent Kevin Skelly presented in November. Skelly called those numbers proof of “education having the power to improve the lives of kids.”
http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/localnews/ci_14474720

CPS offers elite spots to best students in worst elementary schools
336 eighth-graders invited to apply for 25 openings at each elite high school

After pushing for legislation to bar students at failing schools from transferring into the city’s elite high schools, the Chicago Public Schools is now reversing course by allowing 100 such students admission into the city’s four most prized high schools. The district said that parents of 336 high-scoring eighth-grade students at failing elementary schools have been invited to apply for 25 openings each at Jones College Prep, Walter Payton College Prep, Whitney Young Magnet and Northside College Prep. The new strategy will use an 8-year-old provision of the federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows students at failing schools to transfer to better-performing ones. It will be the first time the district has embraced the policy at these highly competitive high schools.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-school-choice-20100303,0,301305.story

Jones students: Diversity matters
Petition to administrators a statement of values

For Malcolm Cherry, Jones College Prep offered the chance to take top-flight high school classes in an environment populated by students culled from neighborhoods across Chicago. But Cherry, a senior who lives near Garfield Park, is uneasy about the future racial composition at the Printers Row-based high school, worrying that a new enrollment process for Chicago Public Schools highly competitive, test-in high schools may diminish Jones’ mix.
http://www.chicagojournal.com/News/02-24-2010/Jones_students:_Diversity_matters

Lawyers, judge to discuss Decatur’s unitary status
After months of little action, the judge involved in Decatur City Board of Education’s (Georgia) unitary status bid will meet Tuesday in Birmingham with attorneys. The school board is seeking unitary status, or freedom from federal desegregation oversight. Decatur has been under a desegregation order since the late 1960s. The school filed the unitary status motion in July 2008. Lawyers and Justice Department attorneys responded with motions opposing the bid. Subsequent talks failed to yield a resolution.
http://www.decaturdaily.com/detail/54208.html

Backers of magnet schools question charter push
In comparison with charter schools, some educators and researchers contend, magnet schools have been given short shrift by the Obama administration. These critics argue that magnet schools have a strong record of increasing racial or economic diversity and deserve more federal funding and support than they are receiving. Magnet schools typically have a particular academic focus, such as the arts or science and technology, that is aimed at helping the schools attract a diverse student population. They saw significant growth in the mid-1980s and are run by public school districts. Charter schools are a newer kind of public school with much more flexibility than traditional public schools to choose their own curricula and set their own policies. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/02/24/22magnets_ep.h29.html

Professor promotes effort to document history before pioneers fade away
A Claflin University history professor spoke for more than an hour Friday at N.C. Central University about her efforts to document school desegregation. Brown and NCCU political scientist Paula Quick Hall are two of the four founders of “Somebody Had to Do It,” a research project based at historically black Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C. Its main goal is to record and index information about school desegregation and especially the black children who broke the color barrier at schools throughout the United States. Objectives include training undergraduates to find and interview pioneers, helping researchers find records on desegregation and documenting desegregation’s effect. This would not be a trivial task, even if the names of the pioneering students were known. Some of the students have died. Many married and changed their names.
http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2010/feb/21/desegregation-focus-of-work/

Professor analyzes segregation’s impact on Dallas schools
About two dozen people attended the event at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library to hear Collin County Community College professor Michael Phillips, author of White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001. Phillips noted that Dallas public schools marched into desegregation somewhat grudgingly.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/education/stories/DN-desegtalk_19met.ART.State.Edition2.4b92b58.html

Please send us your news
Please send reports, documents, court decisions, comments or suggestions for topics to: The Integration Report, Editor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, at integrationrept@ucla.edu.

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Additional Resources for School Integration

**NEW** The March 2010 issue of the North Carolina Law Review highlights scholarly articles analyzing the legal and policy repercussions of the 2007 United States Supreme Court decision, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. These articles were first presented as draft papers at the April 2, 2009 conference, “Looking to the Future: Legal and Policy Options for Racially Integrated Education in the South and the Nation,” organized by the UCLA Civil Rights Project and the UNC School of Law. Contributors include Kristi L. Bowman, William J. Glenn, Danielle Holley-Walker, Chinh Q. Le, Roslyn Arlin Mickelson, Marthia Bottia, Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, and Stephen Samuel Smith. Copies of the articles can be accessed at http://nclawreview.net and http://nclawreview.net/category/archives/88/88-3/.

The introduction to the issue, penned by Erica Frankenberg, Leah C. Aden, and Charles E. Daye, briefly summarizes each of the articles and places them in a broader context; it can be accessed at http://nclawreview.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/88-3-intro.wptd_.pdf

**NEW** Spring 2010 issue of Minnesota offers in-depth look at Myron Orfield’s work on segregation issues in the state.
http://www.minnesotaalumni.org/s/1118/content.aspx?sid=1118&gid=1&pgid=1238&cid=2578&ecid=2578&crid=0&calpgid=1191&calcid=2512

**NEW** Article in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: “What We Know about School Integration, College Attendance, and the Reduction of Poverty,” By Philip Tegeler, Executive Director, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and Roslyn Arlin Mickelson and Martha Bottia, UNC Charlotte. Available at: http://www.spotlightonpoverty.org/ExclusiveCommentary.aspx?id=5cd06dda-6a5f-4c22-939d-d65574151c25

The links below provide a summary of the convening, “Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Education Policy” at Howard University School of Law, Friday, November 13, 2009

The Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD) and MP Associates would like to invite you to check out new resources at www.racialequitytools.org.
Racial Equity Tools Web site is designed to support people and groups who are working for inclusion, racial equity and social justice. The site includes ideas, strategies and tips, as well as a clearinghouse of resources and links from many sources

Past featured resources can be found in the Resources section of the TIR Web site.

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The Integration Report – Staff Members

Editor: Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
Editorial Committee: Erica Frankenberg, Gary Orfield, Laurie Russman and Kyra Young
Webmaster: John Khuu

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The Integration Report is produced by the Initiative on School Integration at The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, and is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.

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