As first published in DelawareLiberal by Progressive Populist on 5/16/2014
Much is being written and broadcast this week about the U.S.A.
celebrating 60 years of school desegregation by way of Brown v. Board of
Education in 1954. This was the year I graduated from my mostly
segregated high school.
I say mostly because I was one of a
busload of army brats transported daily to a nearby civilian high
school. The only reason there were a few black kids in my school was I
guess the local school board couldn't find a way to prohibit my fellow
army brat kids who were black from attending their otherwise all white
But to my point. No, we no longer have de jure school
segregation. But Americans have found a way to maintain this stupid
practice by simply boycotting and fleeing inner city public schools
mostly populated by low income black and hispanic kids. Result? De
facto segregation and very much separate and unequal educations.
while the separate but equal doctrine is no longer applies legally, it
applies in practical application in the way many if not most public
schools are funded to provide middle and upper class public schools with
enrichment tools the affluent parents fork out extra money to get for
their kids while less affluent parents are powerless to provide such
things as gyms, computer labs, ball fields, art and music classes, band
uniforms and instruments and great field trips.
So, 60 years later, little or no change? Not much really to celebrate. Post racial America? that's a cruel joke.
my own eyes and ears I saw stonewalling up close and personal in a
Texas city. By 1970, 16 years post Brown v. Board, our huge urban
school district was totally segregated, save a few scattered middle
class black kids populating suburban schools. So, a highly motivated
group of white liberal, black and hispanic urban residing parents banded
together, got organized and in a year tossed out most of a
segregationist white school school board and integrated our school
But, concerned about white flight, our group, of which I
was privileged to be involved with my wife and kids, our board and new
superintendent created the first magnet school program outside of NYC,
including our own High School For Performing and Visual Arts (yes, we
even put that on a very long bumpersticker !). And our integration
program mostly left neighborhood elementary schools alone and
concentrated the magnets in middle schools and high schools, to limit
the busing of the little ones.
In a few short years, all these
programs, designed to ease the angst of white families and create
imaginative new opportunities for all kids, utterly failed to stem white
flight. White "christian academies" sprung up, suburban Catholic
schools flourished and new suburban school districts sprouted up all
over the region, all touting their educational excellence. People knew
what those code words meant. White. in a decade or two the integrated
urban district went from 60 % anglo to 91% black and hispanic.
this was so called conservative Texas. But what of Blue and liberal
areas? Well, my home of origin, marvelous Marin County in northern
California doesn't look a whole lot better, known to be a liberal elite
bastion. Nor does the very Blue Delaware in which I am now residing.
And from what I read, most of the liberal Blue areas, north, south, east
and west look pretty much the same, school segregation wise.
I know, this is economic segregation where the people across the
tracks so to speak just have to work harder to break out, the
conservatives tell us. Apparently all good things just take time in
America. 60 years was simply not enough time to change attitudes about
I'm waiting. Not much time left in my opinion.