I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Would Linda Brown's Parents Have Wanted a "Choice" District?

This weekend is this 60th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education, the landmark case that ended separate but equal public schools. The case was originally brought against the Topeka, Kansas school board by Oliver Brown, the father of Linda, a third grader.

Oliver had tried to enroll Linda at their neighborhood school a few blocks down the street; he was told instead that Linda would have to go to a segregated school a mile away. Apparently, the Topeka school board felt it would be better for Linda to attend a school far away from her own community, with children of her same race.

Keep that in mind as we get the latest news from Newark:
Yesterday, [State Superintendent Cami] Anderson released the results of the universal enrollment process, a key piece of the One Newark reorganization plan. She also announced the district will provide bus service for 3,783 students who were asked to choose a new school under the reorganization plan. 
In the first round of enrollment, Anderson said the district matched 63 percent of the 12,604 applicants to one of their top five school choices. Another 1,512 students were not matched at all, and 3,216 were matched to their sixth, seventh and eighth choices. "We are really excited about the number of participants and we are particularly proud of the equity piece," Anderson said. [emphasis mine]
"Equity piece"? You mean this? 
In addition to the enrollment decisions, parents were notified today the district will provide shuttle service to and from school for the 3,783 students who had to chose new schools. Thirteen schools were consolidated or relocated or turned over into charter schools or early learning centers. 
Officials said they plan to have the shuttle service in place for September but do not have the information on the routes or the cost. 
Currently, the district provides buses for special education students and city bus tickets to high school students who attend schools more than 2½ miles from their house and K-8 students who live more than 2 miles from school. 
This year, 6,527 district and charter school students are eligible for bus tickets, and 98 percent take advantage of them, officials said.
Say this about the Topeka school board 60 years ago: at least they had a plan to make sure Linda Brown could ride a bus to her segregated school. We're not sure Newark Public Schools can even handle that.

Linda Brown's parents fought for the right to send their child to a school in their neighborhood. The Christie/Anderson administration, in contrast, wants to bus Newark's children all over the city.

Keep in mind that the children who had to chose new schools are much more likely to be black:

In 2014 Newark, black children are being bussed all over the city, away from their neighborhood schools, which have been systemically underfunded.

How far, I wonder, have we really come?

Topeka, 1954, or Newark, 2014?

1 comment:

Galton said...

I am old: I am jaded. Your post brought back some painful memories.
We have "overcome" in so many ways yet, these greedy, pompous bastards put so much of the progress at risk.

Thank you for the blogging you do; the lessons you teach; the memories you pass down!

We need more Jazzmen.