Sunday, September 25, 2005

They got public education right.

This article was a bit of encouraging news in a rather depressing NYT weekend edition. Crisis! Evacuation! War! Dead Dogs! Busing that works! Whuzzat? It sounds like the Raleigh plan really is working. Test results of minority children went from below half scoring at grade level to nearly all scoring at grade level. Students encounter economic and racial diversity from their earliest days. In a plan based on income rather than race, thus neatly sidestepping the race/social-engineering/unconstitutionality argument. Only about 2.5% of said children are assigned to schools they wouldn't voluntarily attend for sake of economic balance. Well-off suburban kids are actually heading into the urban areas to attend top magnet schools. At no additional cost to parents. The only drawback involved for any of the students is a longer bus ride. And in the end you have a community of better educated, more productive adults across the board. What the hell is the problem? Why are people fighting this? I think it's ridiculous that, in a nation that claims meritocracy, there is so much opposition to giving all of its most vulnerable and blameless members (er, that would be the children) an equal educational start in life. I, for one, would gladly support an education plan that would draw from federal tax funds, at greater cost to me, if it meant that all schools, and the children therein, would receive equal funding and thus equal quality of education. And I don't have any children of my own to consider, as yet, nor do I expect any children of mine to grow up in poverty, at risk of attending underperforming schools. Better schooling for all children is just good policy. And yet, there are still folks who just cannot stand the idea of putting poor children in rich schools. Like the suburban mama who complains that the busing is wrong, that economic busing is proxy for race. To which I say, so fucking what? Is it working? In the sense that the children, all the children, are faring better than they did before, not in the sense that your little golden children may or may not have an hour less to watch the MTV every day? Yes. So, what is your problem? Unless, of course, your complaint that the problem is busing is just "a proxy" for your racist desire to keep your children separate from the dark hoardes. *eyeroll* These are the same people, of course, who will swear up, down and sideways that they oppose affirmative action on the grounds that it is an unfair advantage for the undeserving. *deep breath* Oh, and for those who'd argue that we shouldn't be busing "our" children out to "their" schools, we should just be improving "our own"? Mmmm, yeah, shut the hell up. You keep working on that plan. Let us know when that works out for you, okay? In the meantime, I'd be happy to put my kids in a place where they'll learn what they need to cope in this society right now. Ohdamn. Now I done gone and got all worked up. It's a good article. Read it, then email it to your favorite anti-busing crusader. Happy Sunday.


At 9/25/2005 01:26:00 PM, Blogger maryann said...

i read that article last night and thought the exact same thing! it seems like a wonderful idea, i'm glad it's working, and the woman that opposed the plan -- because she thinks parents should have the "choice" -- really came off as an undercover racist. and her undercover skills aren't that good.

i have no sympathy for people complaining about the bus ride -- i used to ride 45 minutes (one-way) every day to get to my magnet high school. i think time on the bus is a small price to pay for a better education.

At 9/25/2005 02:39:00 PM, Anonymous Berry said...

Thanks for posting this. About to dig into it now. Seems to be good food for thought.

At 9/25/2005 11:18:00 PM, Anonymous Katie said...

I really liked what you said. Not enough people get that if we just educate *all* children well, then society as a whole will be better for it. It won't fix all of society's problems, but what would? This was a great post and I may link to it!

At 9/27/2005 07:21:00 PM, Blogger Dragonslayer said...

Heck, to get to my magnet high, I was on the (public trans) bus corner no later than 5.30a to make that 745 first bell.

Then ran track after school and embarked on a two-hour CTA ride home. Somewhere along the line, I did some homework.

From day 1, a good education meant sacrifice for me and my family.

At 9/30/2005 01:33:00 AM, Blogger ding said...

totally. in l.a. i had to wake up at 5 am to catch the bus at 7 to get to school by 8.30 all the way over on the west side of town. what little child wants to get up at 5 am??

anyways, here in chicago a study came out that showed how walter peyton prep (magnet school in the inner city) beat out new trier (preppy school on the northside) as the best high school in chicago. heh.


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