+ Reader Annotations
: Our conversation on school choice (#202
) is deepening. Loyal reader Nicki
School choice is so complex. I attended a meeting last fall, and a few white educators and Oakland residents shared their internal conflict re: quality schools and what schools their young children should go to. Do you compromise your own child’s access to quality education for the greater good, a move that is more aligned with your values? Will it even make a difference? Even when I discuss this topic with my partner, Joel, and ask him if he would send our hypothetical child to Castlemont High School
, his response is a definitive “no.” Would I? I’m afraid I don’t have that much integrity because I don’t think I could bear to send my hypothetical child there either. For four years I worked at LPS Oakland, which is co-located with Castlemont High School, and remain connected with some current and former staff at Castlemont. There are some beautiful things happening at the campus, yet not enough for me to actively choose to send my own child there — and if it’s not good enough for my child, is it good enough to send other people’s children there?
Loyal reader Sivan shared these thoughts:
I wanted to respond to this topic because the data in the research is clear. 1) Peers matter: the smarter your peers are, the better you do; 2) White parents don’t want to send their kids to schools with high concentrations of students of color. This is likely because many people use race as a proxy for the ability of peers or overall perceptions of school resources at schools with students of color. School choice research continues to show that when parents have the choice, students end up in more segregated schools. This isn’t just because those are the closest schools to them, but there is a reason that people want to be in schools where they are not the minority, regardless of the color of their skin. The benefits of being in a diverse school should be that students learn how to live in a world with people who are different from them and don’t see those differences as bad — and that those with privilege can be the tide that lifts all boats. If it’s not intentional by everyone, though, I’m not sure it can work.
Thank you, Nicki and Sivan, for engaging deeply with the articles and pushing the conversation. Loyal readers, if an article inspires you, or makes you angry, or if you want to add your voice, please hit reply and tell me what you think.