Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The DoJ to Huntsville City Schools-"Don't even think about it."

For some reason, the Huntsville City School Board of Education wants the school district released from a court order to desegregate even though the school district is segregated. The Department of Justice told them not to even think about being released from the federal court order.
The District’s 2007-2008 overall student enrollment was 43.1% black and 48.7% white. However, the majority of the District’s 47 schools were racially identifiable black or white due to the composition of their respective student bodies.

Here is the *ahem* rationale for the segregation
The DoJ can’t force people to live where they don’t want to live (yet), so it is basically saying that either Huntsville must engage in massive busing or… engage in massive busing.
The DoJ can't force people to live where they don't want to live, but the HCS can force them to send their children to school based on where they live. In most cases it's not where parents want to live, it's where parents can afford to live. Affluent parents have access to the best public schools their tax dollars can buy. Disadvantaged parents have access to the worst public schools their tax dollars can buy.

Why should parents be forced by the school system to send their children to failing public schools? Remember the Ohio parent who was convicted of sending her children to a school outside of her district?
American educational apartheid dictates that schools in poorer neighborhoods are of significantly less quality than other schools. The racial divisions within American schools are nothing less than a blatant and consistent human rights violation and should certainly be treated as such.

Blogger Ben at Flashpoint says;
The magnet schools that were supposed to lure white students to north Huntsville have been a colossal failure as a tool of integration, so it’s hard to see how else the system could otherwise meet this requirement.
Well, that's not quite true. The magnet schools did lure white students to north Huntsville, and far from being a colossal failure, they are a colossal success. They are racially balanced (thanks to busing) and have high test scores. The problem is there are no magnet schools located in south Huntsville to lure black students.

One thing is clear, Huntsville will not be released from the federal court order unless and until they reach a unitary status. My recommendation is they look at other systems who have achieved unitary status as a model.
The current school system is the result of a 1976 merger between the previous (historically largely white) Wake County school system and the former (historically largely minority) Raleigh City schools. The merger was proposed initially by business leaders in the early 1970s out of concerns that continued "white flight" from Raleigh's inner-city schools would negatively impact the county's overall economy. Political and educational leaders also hoped that merging the two systems would ease court-mandated desegregation. The proposal proved initially unpopular with residents, however, who rejected it by a 3-1 margin in a non-binding referendum in 1973. School and business leaders instead convinced the North Carolina General Assembly to force the merger.[2]

The district since has become notable for its integration efforts. Schools in the system are today integrated based on the income levels reported by families on applications for federally subsidized school lunches, with the goal of having a maximum ratio of 40% low-income students at any one school. Consequently, thousands of suburban students are bused to magnet schools in poorer areas—and likewise, low-income students to suburban schools—to help maintain this income balance.
The neighborhood school concept not only enables segregation but it affects property values. Houses cost $40-50,000 dollars more in south Huntsville because property values are tied to the academic success (or failure) of the schools. Eliminating the neighborhood school concept and instituting public school choice would not only integrate the school district but equalize property values. Instead of attending the nearest schools, parents and students could choose to attend schools based on their interest (i.e. magnet schools).

I repeat;

As long as the quality of public education in Huntsville is based on parental income and property values there is no hope for the Huntsville City Schools.

As long as those in positions of power believe it’s a silly, unrealistic, line that every school should be as good as Grissom, there is no hope for Huntsville City Schools.

As long as those in positions of power believe them uppity coloreds and sneaky Mexicans would receive an education only white, god-fearing, clean, and law-abiding children deserve, there is no hope for the Huntsville City Schools.

As long as black parents aren't politically involved to the same extent as white parents there is no hope for the Huntsville City Schools.

I don't care how many Superintendents, clueless consultants and school boards are hired and fired, there is no hope for the Huntsville City Schools as long as long as people with racist beliefs have the power to exercise racism.

One would think a school system whose motto is Education is the Hope of the Republic would make an effort to educate ALL students regardless of race, gender, sex or address.


Anonymous said...

I want my children to go to school in their neighborhood. Not because there are more whites but because that is where they live and that is where their friends are. I have always taught my children to not judge a person by the color of their skin but by their action/attitude= character!
Don't you think it a bit patronizing to think a black student has to sit next to a white student to learn? I do think all children should have the same very high quality education. I DEMAND it for mine and so should everyone. I will NEVER settle for less and no one should. I truely mean it. Given that: why are some students failing and some soaring. Why do some schools have more advanced classes and some less? One answer ... Parents. From my understanding the central office sets the curriculum then the teachers carry it ous as they see fit. I can not believe the administration is hiring and retaining subpar teachers in North Huntsville and not in South Huntsville. As a matter of fact some of the very best teacher my children have had, transferred from failing North Huntsville schools. I am sure the are filled with them as they have to work twice as hard to get results ......due to lack of involvement and APATHY. Now I do beleive we need tremendous community involvement from all walks of life to break the cycle but involving a bus is not going to solve the problem. I also do not believe rearranging to find middle ground does either.... I think it breads mediocrity. Don't use Charlotte Mecklenburg as an example either. My sister is a teacher at Devonshire in that system and it is far from a role model school. They are throwing money around left and right not to mention fillin out enough paperwork to kill a forest. It is the students with parenteral involvement that continue to do the best. If a difference is to be made it is a program that gets parents to care.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the typos. I was mad and couldn't find my reading glasses. It is not do to lack of education....just aging eyes!

Redeye said...

Welcome to Redeye's Front Page Anonymous and thank you for your passionate response. I welcome all points of view and I hope we can have productive, constructive, civil discussion about an issue we both care about.

The difference between your point of view and my point of view is you say I, me and mine and I say we, us, and our. We want ALL our children to have equal access to a quality education.

You said:I have always taught my children to not judge a person by the color of their skin but by their action/attitude= character!

Yet you say you want them to go to school in their neighborhood because that's where their friends are. How are they going to make friends from all walks of life if they stay within the narrow confines of their neighborhood? The world is a big place. How how they going to function in the world if they stay in a little corner?

You said;
I can not believe the administration is hiring and retaining subpar teachers in North Huntsville and not in South Huntsville. As a matter of fact some of the very best teacher my children have had, transferred from failing North Huntsville schools.

Is it the parents fault the central office transferred the very best teacher YOUR children had FROM a "failing" North Huntsville School? NO. And thanks for making my point.

We are in agreement about the importance of parental involvement.

Let's make a deal, you don't tell me who/what I can use as an example and I won't tell you who/what you can use as an example. I happen to believe the example I provided is the model unitary school system. It wasn't about throwing money around, it was about integrating the schools. Seperate and unequal is against the law.

yellowdog said...

It seems reasonable. It seems rational. It seems to be a justifiable rationalization.

If we have defacto segregation in our public schools (Montgomery, Huntsville, etc.) as a result of economic conditions, then it can't possibly be a result of racism or discrimination. It is a fact of neighborhood race, not racism.

It is just a coincidence that one race lives in a low-income neighborhood, and one race lives in a higher income neighborhood, and the schools in the more affluent areas of town have better student outcomes, resulting in better economic opportunity, which then perpetuates the economic status of the races, which in turn continues the defacto school segregation.

In reality, these outcomes which seem so rational, realistic, and reasonable, are the very "circumstances" which actually are a clear example of "institutional racism" - and hence the necessity of busing, a positive attempt towards integrating schools, to break the cycle of this long course of covert racism!

I'm sure the bottom-line will be, "We don't have the money!" We can't afford to bus kids. We can't afford equitable school standards.

And in fact for the one race in that affluent neighborhood, there is no downside! And of course that neighborhood makes the rules!

Redeye said...

Exactly Yellowdog, and when black parents are involved and DEMAND better educational opportunities for their children they are told to STFU and STFD and call race baiters etc.

Anonymous said...

The Raleigh School System is a mess. Property values have plummeted and people who bought house based on school districts have been screwed (they have lost money based on helping other peoples kids, not their own). Dropping the level of success for all public schools is not the answer. Many successful parents have placed their students in private schools. The teachers I know in Raleigh describe the whole process as a mess.

The most successful schools are the ones with the most parental involvement. It is not a race thing, however, it is frequently a class thing. Those in the middle and upper classes instill the value that education is important. They have the time and education to help their kids, where as poorer parents often aren't equipped to help students with their studies or to help their children see the value of education.

Neighborhood schools mean my kid can be a member of the track team because he can walk home after practice (I am working and can't pick him up). Also as a parent, I want my son to go to school with kids with similar values. Kids from the poorer neighborhoods have higher teen pregnancy rates, place less value on education and think fighting is an acceptable way to settle fights. I wouldn't want my child to go to school with kids who have those values. People who have paid those extra cost for housing do not want their values to plummet and rightfully so.

I teach at a predominantly black lower class school (Title 1 next year)in Atlanta. The teacher there are as good as the teachers in the higher achieving white school. However the students and their parents do not place the same value on education, and therefore, do not work as hard to succeed. Student success depends on the teachers, but even more so on the child and the parents.

Redeye said...

What do you mean by students and their parents don't place the same value on education and therefore don't work as hard to succeed?

Parents aren`t trained, certified teachers, if they were we wouldn't need schools or teachers.

I feel sorry for the "black lower class" children you will teach in ? In Atlanta. And NO they are not all ggod teachers if like you they have preconceived notions about their ability to succeed. All children can learn. All children want to learn.

The Raleigh school system was fine until the Tea Party took control of the school board.

I have a dream that one day people will care more about the value of an educated populace than they do proprty values.

Redeye said...


I feel sorry for the ”black,lower class" Title I children you will teach at next year. And NO they are not all good teachers if they have preconceived notions.

Anonymous said...

I don't have preconceived notions. I have 4 pregnant girls (15 year olds) in my classes. I have seen multiple fights at my high school (not in my classroom - I am good at deescalating situations) and now that the students who fail my class do so because of a refusal to do homework and classwork. Not stereotyping. Reporting what I actually see.

Redeye said...

White teens get pregnant too Anonymous....ask Bristol Palin.

You are probably going to have more pregnant 15 year olds in your classroom now that the righty's have wrongly defunded Planned Parenthood and forbid sex edcuation being taught in school. Isn't it ironic righty's want prayer in school but frown on sex education being taught? I guess they want to teach the kids to pray they don't get pregnant but I digress.

So your students are failing homework? If you know they "refuse" to do homework, why assign it? Are the students in your classroom failing to learn or are you failing to teach?

yellowdog said...

Well, there you go, Redeye.

It's not racism. It's classism.

We just have to keep those "poor" people out of our communities, our neighborhoods, our schools - keep them in their part of town because it's all about economics, not race.

Just like the War of Northern Aggression was about State's Rights, not slavery. Slavery was just a side issue to the economic base of the South, and economics and class, with one race in particular representing the lowest class imaginable short of genocide which was reserved for Native Americans, are justification for the results of classism - since it isn't racism - except in results.

Redeye, you can lead a horse to water...

Anonymous said...

You forget that those schools that are good because the parents of those schools donate time and money to the school (at our school we donate additional money to the PTA for the different departments so they can buy supplies etc).
Also I agree that sexual education is a necessity (so who is stereotyping now?)

I am trying to point out that teachers are only one part of the equations. Parents are the other major part in good schools.

Oh and Students need to practice new skills, so they need to do homework. Unfortunately, When you are trying to cover the whole curriculum, you need to precede at a specific pace. I do significant remediation, but if I have students in 10th grade who read at a 5th grade level and can't substitute into a math formula, it tends to make teaching higher level science difficult. It also negatively impacts the better students in my class. Differentiation is great, but not always practical in a classroom of 32. So I assign homework because it helps those students who actually do it!

I don't believe poor people don't deserve good schools, but I also believe that you don't punish people for their success (ie the people in South Huntsville who have worked hard to create good schools for their kids). They pay for tutors, they push education,etc. If you busing kids to better schools, it means you are also busing students to worse schools or overcrowding the better ones. Where is the justice in that?

Redeye said...

You seem to forget the parents have time and money to donate to the school.
I`m trying to point out parents are doing their part by paying taxes. They are not trained,certified teachers nor do they hire and fire teachers, principals and support personnel.

In my day we had study hall where students could complete homework. Lots of kids have jobs or have to look after younger siblings after school and don't have time for homework. Parents can't help with Calculus etc. Assigning tons of homework os setting students up to fail. If teachers don`t have enough time to teach extend the school day.

I don't understand how providing all children equal access to a quality public education is" punishing" anyone. We are all in this boat together. If one end of the boat is shiny and new but the other end is old and full of holes the whole damn boat is going to sink.

Anonymous said...

(A Different Anonymous)

Having observed the Huntsville system first hand, it seems that my fellow residents of North Huntsville want to blame everyone else first while accepting NO responsibility for the condition of the schools.

Parents who hold education as a high priority make time for [parent-teacher conferences, PTA, etc. and are proactive instead of reactive.

Redeye said...

Different Anonymous,

Instead of acknowledging, as the DOJ has done, that there is a real and significant achievement gap in Hunstville, You and Hugh McInnis dream up excuses for why educational achievement can't improve, can't be achieved.

Attending or not attending parent teacher conferences does not address the disparity or the segregation.

North Huntsville parents don't have to "accept responsiblity" for the disparities or the segregation because they didn't create or cause it. They are holding those responsibile accountable.

You and Hugh can play the blame the victim, scapecoat game that is keeping us in the this mess. Others are going to accept the things they cannot change (parental involvement), change the things we can (disparities/segregation) and the wisdom to know the difference (we can't dicate or legislate parental involvement).

Every child in this city has the right to a quality public education regardless of race, gender, zip code or degree of parental involvement.