On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Okay, yesterday morning I heard a furor going up on the Wake County SC schools to stop busing kids to increase diversity. The cost is too high, and there are many arguments for keeping kids in community schools, close to their homes.

Of course, the argument is divided once more between the rich and the poor--the wealthy people want their children in neighborhood schools because, frankly, the schools are better, supported by the hefty property taxes. Meanwhile, kids (most black or Hispanic) in poor neighborhoods are stuck in poor schools, giving them an even rougher road to the future.

I understand both arguments, but it seems to me the answer is so simple: simply make the schools in poor neighborhoods better. In fact, make them so good that people in wealthier neighborhoods will WANT their kids to go there.

This has been done in many cities, in the form of magnet schools, with some success. Of course, then we have the problem of funding--if we depend on property taxes (which we do), then how do we get poor schools more equitable funding? And what about safety of neighborhoods? I know many teachers who opt to move out of a city or even a state, rather than teach in dangerous inner city schools.

Boy, whoever can solve this one will certainly have my vote next election. But it's a problem that has to be solved. We are losing any ground we have gained through busing, and we are losing children--and that's one resource we desperately need to mine well or all of our futures are bleak.

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