The public school system in Huntsville, Alabama used to be known as the best kept secret in Alabama. As a product of the Huntsville City School system after integration, I remember the good old days when all schools were considered "good schools". When all teachers/principal and support personnel were highly qualified. When young minds were encouraged to reach their full potential regardless of of their zip code, parents income, race, gender, or religion.
The city of Huntsville had the perception of being a progressive oasis in the reddest of the red states. Huntsville's image wasn't marred with bombings, Bull Conner, dogs and fire hoses. Nope, Huntsville was thought to be immune from the ignorance of racism when public schools and facilities integrated without fanfare (except for the swimming pool).
So what happened between then and now? Two words....white flight from north Huntsville to south Huntsville, and the creation of neighborhood schools. You see, the government can't tell you where to live, but the government can tell you where to attend a public school.
As in most cases, people chose to live based on where they can afford to live. Taxpayers who live in affluent areas have access to the best public schools their tax dollars can buy. Taxpayers who live in non affluent areas have access to the worst public schools their tax dollars can buy.
There is a provision in the HCS Federal Court Desegregation order that allows students to transfer from schools where they are the majority race, to schools where they are the minority race. This is supposed to be a two way deal, but what parent in their right (no pun) mind is going to transfer their child from the best public school their tax dollars can buy, to the worst school their tax dollars can buy? I mean, really?
Why are public schools in the less affluent area considered to be the worst schools you ask? Some say it's because of the unfairness of life, it's not their fault the majority of the students are black/brown/poor. Some say the U.S. Department of Justice is making unreasonable demands on the school district.
I'm convinced we have a separate and unequal school district due to the lynching of public education, not only in Huntsville, but the state in general. You see, Sweet Home Alabama cares more about property values than educating it's poor/black/brown students.
What those in positions of power fail to realize is we are all in the boat together. If one end of the boat is clean and bright and the other end of the boat is dirty and full of holes, guess what...the whole damn boat is going to sink.
It's all about money and race. Keeping those two things in mind, everything else makes perfect sense