Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Transferring Up

In today's New York Times, bestselling education writer and fervent integration supporter Jonathan Kozol offers a suggestion for how to promote quality education for students in failing schools that has the added benefit of furthering integration. Encouraging Congress to beef up the transfer provisions for such students in the No Child Left Behind Act when NCLB is up for reauthorization later this year, Kozol writes of his proposed amendment:

"First, states should be required to ease transfers across district lines for children now in chronically low-performing schools.

Second, schools and districts must not be permitted to reject these students so long as they have space available in existing classrooms, which most suburban districts do.

Third, states must pay the added costs incurred by the receiving districts; they must not, however, compel hard-pressed urban schools to reimburse their wealthier suburban counterparts.

Fourth, states must pay for transportation.

Fifth, in order to ease the burden on states, Congress should create a federal fund to be used to underwrite some of the costs of complying with the law.

Sixth, Congress should enact specific fiscal penalties for states that drag their heels or defy the terms of this amendment altogether."


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Schools and Integration: Picking Up the Pieces

In the Seattle Times, Larry Gossett and john a. powell wrote about the positive side of the Supreme Court's decision in the Seattle and Louisville cases -- namely that "for the first time in history, the majority of the court recognizes a compelling government interest not only in ending state-sponsored (de jure) segregation, as in Brown, or in pursuing diversity in higher education, as in the University of Michigan affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger, but also in remedying racial isolation, regardless of its cause."

Gossett and powell go on to state, "The majority of the court has now explicitly recognized the serious harms of racial isolation in our communities and classrooms. The court also recognizes the impact of these arrangements on the promise of liberty and equality on which the nation was founded.

It is imperative that policymakers and the public not misread this case and overlook the opportunities this unprecedented acknowledgement opens up to achieve integration in our schools and neighborhoods."