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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Integration is not parents’ priority

Students in a writing class at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle School in Memphis. Photo: Alan Spearman/AP

With charter schools, urban parochial schools and “a few unicorn-y school districts” showing that low-income black and Latino kids can do well, many on the “progressive left” are pushing school integration, writes Derrell Bradford, executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now (NYCAN), on The 74.

Even as district schools remain segregated, choice opponents criticize charter “schools full of high-achieving black kids,” he writes.

It’s hard to argue that an integrated society isn’t a better one or that diversity doesn’t set the conditions for a richer American experience. But that’s not what’s being argued by the anti-choice pro-integration lobby, who have described choice reforms as polite cousins of segregation while attacking high-performing charters founded to serve minority kids for being filled with them.

Citizen Stewart also is angry at reform critics who complain that choice advocates are funded by the wealthy.

Do you really believe your Organizing Industrial Complex funding comes from a gloriously pure well of unpolluted dollars that spring naturally from a free-range artisan non-capitalistic garden? . . . What matters is our end goal. Yours is to limit black children to the traditional district schools of yesterday. I’m looking for every avenue our students and families can use to migrate out of that captivity and into safe harbor.

There are some “diverse by design” charter schools that attract a racial, ethnic and socioeconomic mix of students, but they’re not the norm. DSST Public Schools, a Denver-based network with considerable diversity, just won the Broad Prize.

DSST students make huge reading and math gains, concludes a 2017 Stanford study.

“Impoverished students, who make up 66 percent of the student body network-wide, posted higher average SAT scores in 2017 than their affluent Colorado peers,” reports The 74. “The network boasts four of the top five high schools and five of the top eight middle schools in Denver, based on the district’s school performance framework.”

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