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October 30, 2006

Segregation

It surprises me how much in America people still even just consider segregation. I feel like there was so much fought for, so many important things happened in the past and now people just want to openly agree to take things back to how they once were. I understand that we are not at all talking about segregating the world but even just segregation in schools changes a lot. The country would not be at all diverse. Segregating schools automatically segregates friendship groups and in the cities neighborhoods are already too segregated without actually stating segregation. It just causes for less understanding of each other. Last year I heard a lot of talk about how a city I think in Colorado (I may be mistaken about the state) was thinking about segregating their school as and many of the residents agreed I was shocked. I hear the argument that we need to be around people who are the same as us. I think that just because someone and I are the same race does not make us alike and I think I would miss a lot and learn a lot less if I was not in a diverse school.

October 29, 2006

The Choice is Yours Solution

The second half of “The Choice is Yours� was pretty informative about the program that was put in place. Personally, I was surprised to hear that there were federal cases brought to court in recent years concerning segregation. Who would have though that this many years after slavery was abolished and since segregation laws were too, that there would still be a huge segregation problem?
The fact that the Choice Is Yours program shows improvement among its participants is promising to me as well. It provides an option for kids that really don’t have many options in life; if they’re poor they can’t really choose where they live but because of this program they can choose where they go to school. And that is something that evidence has shown helps them to succeed in school. So because of the program, even if parents can’t afford to help their kids go to a better private school in the city, they still have the option to send their kids to a suburban school where they have a better chance to do well.
One problem with that however, is that it only includes a small amount of students. They can’t move all of the disadvantaged students out to the suburbs that would and already has created more segregation in schools there. Therefore, the program only works to a certain extent. Impact has been made on a small scale to help some students, but in order to help all students there needs to be some bigger change within the home schools in metropolitan Minneapolis.

October 28, 2006

A solution?

After reading the second part, I felt like I understood what they were getting at with the solution. I know it is complicated and may not work comepletely, but when CIY and housing programs mix, it seems to be the best solution at this time. Having affordable housing become available to parents in the CIY program allowing them to move out to where their children would be going to school would not only help to make the schools integrated, but also the nieghborhoods. Minority and low-income families would then have an opportunity to live in the suburbs and those people who were already living there would get a taste of diversity therefore decreasing their prejudices and allowing them to be more open to minorities. It only takes a few people to change even an entire community's view. This could lead to those white parents to allow their children to come to the city if there was an improvement in those schools as well. For this to happen, housing must play a big role. I feel like people are only focusing on the school changes and not the housing which was presented as an important peice of the puzzle. Giving some of the miorities a chance to live in the suburbs would decrease minority enrollment in the city schools and therefore bring more of the white students back who were migrating to suburban and private schools to get away from that. That would make the city schools more integrated without having to bus anyone in from the suburbs. I don't believe it would solve the problem comepletely, but we cannot keep focusing on just moving the students, but their families as well. Housing is a terrible problem here and fixing that as well would help immensely.

October 27, 2006

A Worthy Quest

It is really quite unfortunate that segregation in any venue still exists. But it does. And although there are many people who will argue that not having contact with cultures (racial and otherwise) besides your own will have no effect on you or upon your education, that is simply not true. If you are limited to one, or an extremely limited frame of reference then that will have a noticeable impact upon you. Even if the person truly has no desire to be discriminatory against the other group in question, the environment in which they have grown has shaped their viewpoints and assumptions, even if it is only on a subconscious level. I think that everyone should be given a chance to experience, or learn about, at least one other culture besides their own. I personally would find it very strange and uncomfortable for me to be in a place with limited or no diversity considering the way I have grown up. My family has had me experience various aspects of as many different cultures as they could and I have never gone to a school where there were less than 28 languages spoken. All of this enhanced my learning. I got to learn new things about various topics, I got different viewpoints on issues, and I was able to create a much broader frame of reference for myself. Segregation in the schools denies people from valuable diverse experiences. The reading discusses some possible solutions that they are trying to make work . But, although I do think that these are a start, I also think that there is still a lot more that has to be done. Relocating people, and pretty much just relocating the nonwhite city dwellers, is not the answer, it is worth a try, but it probably will cause quite a few negative results as well. I’m not quite sure what the complete answer is. But I do think that de-segregating the schools is a worthy goal.

Charter School Thoughts

A good portion of this article focused on charter schools. I volunteer at a charter school, but I had no clue what the difference between a charter school and a regular high school was. Charter schools are usually put together by parents and teachers and serve as a substitute to a regular high school. On page 44, it stated that "the number of charter schools grew from one to 88 between 1992 and 2004." This data shows the popularity of charter schools in recent years.
In this article, the author believed that segregation in charter schools is much worse than in regular high schools and this has made schools appear more segregated than they really are. I agree with this because almost all of the students at the charter school where I volunteer are African-American (while the others are Hispanic).
Charter schools are more segregated than most public high schools; however, I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing. Segregation in schools can also be beneficial in some cases. I think the students at my charter school are in a good learning environment because all of the teachers are bilingual, they are in a good cultural environment, and the students are allowed a time to pray. The students that attend the school I volunteer at are in a comfortable learning environment and I think a charter school is more effective than a public school in this instance. However, I am not sure if all charter schools are good educational environments. Does anyone else have an input?

Alex Christianson

I just don't know what to do!

I think it is terrible that we have segregated schools, but I don't know what a proper solution would be. I really don't feel that we can place blame on anyone. In my opinion, which is based on my own past experiences, it is not as though we want to keep the white people away from the Asians and African-Americans, it just happened that way. Now is there something we can do fix it? I don't know, but I'm sure willing to try. I do not think that bussing kids back and forth is a great idea, but if it works it works. Should we try? Heck yes! Do I think it will work? Not really. Here's the deal: If we take a certain number of kids, lets say 8, and place them into a new environment I think they will thrive. Now, what about those that we leave behind. Assuming we send the brightest minds to the better opportunites, we leave a school without those students who guide the rest of the student body. One of my fears is that the middle to upper students will get better (thats not a problem at all) but the lower students will probably get lower, too. A solution could be bringing kids from the suburbs to the inner city schools, but I think that is a ridiculous idea. People move to the suburbs for a reason. Often times they live in an area where they think their family and school aged children would thrive. If I were a parent form the suburbs and my kids were bussed, I would be raged! I think we still need to find a better solution. Like I say, we can try this one, but there just seem to be to many what-ifs.

Solution

I have thought about this solution for quite sometime and I can't really come up with an answer. There isn't an immediate solution anywhere and whatever we try and do to solve the problem of modern day segregation in schools is going to take a long time. I feel that even busing students to other schools isn't that helpful. Yes, is seems to be making some sort of an impact but it's only helping a certain amount of students in certain areas. Not every school is implementing this sort of program. If there is a solution proposed it needs to be implemented by every school to see if it is going to work in every type of community. If there is one this I have learned by moving to the cities it is that different areas of town accomadate different types of people and as much as I hate to admit it, sometimes different types of people have differing levels of literacy and behavior. I find it very sad that we are still battling these issues even though we have "already overcome" them numerous years ago. I think this is something that will always be a problem and it is a problem that doesn't have a very easy solution anywhere in site. Although many possible solutions have been placed on the table none of them have totally solved the problem yet which makes me think that sadly, segregation in schools, it isn's something that will every be completely nonexistant.

The Solution

I liked reading this half of the article better, because it felt like I could connect more to the topic. A lot of the focus was on charter schools, and my service learning hours take place at one of these charter schools. Before reading this article, some of the girls in our class including me were always wondering what the differences were between charter schools and so called traditional schools. This article helped to clear the issue up, and from my experiences at a charter school the accounts are fairly accurate. I think that another reason why charter schools don’t do as well is that sometimes they are suppose to be headed by parents. Parents are suppose to take an initiative and serve on the board. A lot of these schools have very few parents that are willing to do this, and often the school suffers from lacking this leadership.
To answer Caitlin’s question six on whether schools will ever be racially integrated I would say that yes ideally it could happen that schools will eventually be integrated, but it would take hard work and a long time for the process to happen. The way the article says that all they have to do is move like 12,000 African Americans does not seem that plausible, and how do you choose what students go back into the inner-city schools from the suburbs. Even if this would be accomplished it seems unlikely that other outside influences wouldn’t disrupt the racial balance like new people moving into the Twin Cities. Although I am not completely sold by this idea, we cannot just let the segregation get worse and we should at least try to even out the schools as much as possible.

solution

We talked a little about the solution in class last monday and im still not sure what a good solution would be. I agree that we should try to bus kids out to the suburban school since those who have already been doing that have shown improvement. I disagree wi th it also though because i dont think its fair to only be able to pick certain students. Its like were picking which students get a better future. I know its impossible and just not a good idea period to bus all the students to a suburban school because one its already too crowded and then two they would be no one left at the other school, so im not suggesting we do that either. I dont think that most schools try to be segregated it just happens that one race lives in one area so they all attend the same school. There is just so much that would have to change to undo segregation in schools and i really dont think that its going to happen. I think its great that there are people out there who realize this problem and are tyring to do something about it but i just dont think we have a realistic and fair solution yet. Im in favor of doing it still with the few kids from each school like the program has been doing but i just feel like there has to be a better way. I wish I was able to elighten you all with a perfect solution that would be fair to all children but i cant do that. Im just as clueless as everyone else.

The Solution

After class on Monday I felt that we had a good discussion because we had some disagreements and we had people try and explain their point of views much more than normal. After reading this part of the choice is ours, I think that it is going to be very hard to fix the segregation. We can bus kids to other schools, but that is only going to solve the problem for the time being. In order to truly fix it, people need to move to areas where they would not normally live. Like I have said many times, I come from a town that had about 8 african americans, and about 20 asians. I think the main reason that my school was like this is because of the cost of homes in Mahtomedi. In Mahtomedi there are the middle-class suburban homes, the lower-middle class homes in the heart of Mahtomedi and then the upper-class mansions surrounding the town. Most of the lower-middle class homes have been occupied for many years and the families are not moving out of there, so people cannot move in there. I think segregation is such a big problem in the suburbs because of the cost of houses there. Houses are going for about $300,000 a piece or more. Rarely, at least in Mahtomedi, do homes go for less than that. Like Anna said in class, most inner city kids are not focused on school because they are focused on survival. I think that most inner city kids have to focus on those things and live in the inner city because they do not have the money to live in the suburbs. I think that is a big problem and I would love to fix it, but I do not think it will happen anytime soon. We can bus kids from the city to the suburbs, but we can't force them to talk to white kids or any other kids that they do not want to. I think segregation needs to be fixed, but I think it is going to be a lot harder than they make it seem.

October 26, 2006

Absent

I feel that this article defines many of the diversity flaws that are often overlooked in the public school system. If children are not exposed to diverse peer contact from an early age, they risk prejudices that may last them the rest of their lives. I can definitely relate with this because I came from a school where we had about a 95% white student population from kindergarten onward. This definitely affected my development and I can see how others were affected by it. When children, or anyone, isn’t given a real life experience of what people of other backgrounds are like, they create their own ideas from what they hear or what the media tells them. This is evident in small towns, like mine, or rural areas. Because of this, I never had friends of another race, or even a conversation. That is one of the reasons I came to the University of Minnesota, to escape that environment. Personally, I would never raise my children in community with such a segregated school system. I also feel that it is important for the school system to treat all of their students the same, in the article, it said that the CIY students were sometimes treated more harshly than the students originally from that school. Without equality in our schools, how can we expect our children to carry equality into the world?

October 25, 2006

The Choice is Yours in the Twin Cities- Part 1

“The Choice is Yours in the Twin Cities Region: Using School and Housing Choice to Achieve Integration� outlines the fact that many of the Minneapolis Public Schools were very segregated (over 80% non-white students). By 2003, nearly half of the schools were considered segregated. Many people feel that it is detrimental to students to be in such a segregated environment, and that students are much more successful in a culturally diverse environment. After the NAACP and Xiong vs. State of Minnesota, The Choice is Yours programs were created to create a more diverse environment for both suburban and inner-city schools. Since then, students from inner city Minneapolis schools have been enrolling in suburban schools in order to desegregate schools all over the Twin Cities area. Local suburban schools such as Richfield, Edina, Columbia Heights, St. Anthony, Hopkins, St. Louis Park, Robbinsdale, Eden Prairie and Wayzata are currently enrolling students for the CIY program. Students that participate in the CIY program have shown significant academic improvements, about a third higher in reading and math than non-CIY students. Not only are students more successful as a result of the program, students and parents seem to like the program. 97% of participants and their parents said that they would recommend the program to a friend. CIY students felt that the suburban schools took their education more seriously and they were less distracted by the “bad� kids. The only negative comment was that they felt that CIY students were subject to harsher discipline for misbehavior that those who were originally enrolled at the suburban schools. For the 2005-06 school year, over 3,500 students were enrolled in the CIY program. According to the article, the positives of the program have far outweighed the negatives in the past few years and it has become one of the most successful de-segregation programs in the country.

Summary of pages 45-56 "The Choice is Ours"

In pages 45-56 of the article, “The Choice is Ours: Expanding Educational Opportunity for all Twin Cities Children,� they start off explaining how charter schools are severely segregated and poverty stricken (45), and have yet to prove a strong accountability for performance (47). In the Twin Cities, there are poverty enrollments that reach nearly 80%, which is at least 10% higher than the highest poverty concentrated public school. Also, non-white enrollments in these charter schools have jumped 14% in a span of three years, ranging from 1999-2002 (45). It is sad to say that even with the increased enrollment in these charter schools, they are still not being used in statistical research. The main reason for this is the fact that the Bush Administration held a study in 2004, and as a result they found charter schools to be less likely to meet the state standards as other public schools (48).

Another reason that charter schools are viewed as non-accountable is the fact that they have been run with poor accounting practices (48). As a result, many of these charter schools will end up closing after just a few years of practice. In fact, 64% of charter schools filed their 2001 audits late, followed by 34% in 2002 (49). It is said that “non-segregated middle-class schools have a long record of effectiveness, especially contrasted with economically and racially segregated school� (49). Charter schools are concentrating poverty, and also bringing back flashbacks of the “separate but equal� era (49-50).

In the end of the article, there is an explanation of why it’s possible for choice to integrate schools. The Choice is Yours (CIY) programs and the Low-income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program are doing there best to form a correct analysis on how well it will actually work and how we can do it. There solutions that follow include: (1) Honoring School Choice with better Programs, (2) Providing Educational Opportunity for those in need, (3) Providing better Information and Facilities, (4) Making sure that Free Transportation Remains, (5) Providing Affordable Housing along with the School and Opportunity of Choice, (6) Foster Schools and Stable Neighborhoods, and finally (7) Making sure that there is a Stable Integration in the CIY Schools (54-55).

In conclusion, their main goal is to provide an integrated school in which all students will have equal and numerous opportunities to prosper.

October 24, 2006

Questions on the reading

The Choice is Ours: Expanding Educational Opportunity for all Twin Cities Children-Part Four: Solutions

1. After reading this solutions section and from the last class discussion, do you feel integrated schools are critical, recommended, or unnecessary for legal action to take place?

2. With the Choice is Yours program having a high recommendation from parents, how do you feel an education program should be evaluated- academically is easily measured but what about socially when the study mentioned CIY students faced “some racism and hostility from teachers and students� (41)?

3. Suburban schools receive more money through CIY from “compensatory revenue�, do you think this is fair?

4. Why is there so much attention to charter schools in this article on public schools?

5. Which of the three programs do you think has the best potential for integrating schools: LIHTC, or the two section 8 housing programs?

6. Do you think the numbers to racially balance the schools can or cannot be achieved?

7. Which of the seven recommendations for extending the CIY program do you think is most crucial? Which will be the hardest to achieve?


8. What other issues does this relate to, such as affirmative action or economically based admission standards for colleges, etc…?