Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Desegregate neighborhoods, not schools

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a school desegregation case involving the Jefferson County school system.

We have always been in favor of neighborhood schools wherever possible. In rural counties where economies of scale require consolidating schools, this is not always possible. The result is a long bus ride for many students in communities where elementary schools once existed but had to be closed due to economic constraints or the conditions of the aging buildings (many of which date back to WPA days).

But it makes no sense for a child in Jefferson County to pass three schools on a bus to get to a school that needs to be desegregated in a bow to the almighty god of "Diversity."

If "Diversity" is such a grand and noble goal, then communities should be investing in diversifying their neighborhoods. They need to make predominantly black neighborhoods more appealing to whites, and vice versa. Don't make our children pay for your social experiments. Kids learn best in neighborhood schools, where they can attend class with their neighbors and learn from people they may run into on the street or in the grocery store.

We'd love nothing more than to see a return to neighborhood schools, and then put an emphasis on improving poor and neglected facilities while encouraging communities to foster voluntary desegregation and diversification through residency.

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