Does school desegregation still matter?
When we talk about education innovation, we usually refer to technology. But what about a totally different type of innovation: a new generation of public schools, both charter and traditional, that are reclaiming the mantle of desegregation, insisting that it is *not* okay for rich kids and poor kids, white kids and non-white kids, to sit in separate classrooms? Schools like Charles Drew in Atlanta, Blackstone Valley Prep in Rhode Island, and Community Roots in Brooklyn are responding to the fact that over the last 30 years, American public education has become increasingly segregated by race and class. Despite impressive achievement at some high-poverty schools, research shows racial and socioeconomic isolation has a real impact on children's well-being. This is true both for poor children and those from affluent families. We'll debate whether desegregation still matters and tackle the challenges -- from tracking to parental engagement - specific to diverse schools.
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Additional Supporting Materials
- How are new charter and traditional public schools using racial and socioeconomic desegregation as a school reform strategy?
- What does research tell us about how segregation and integration impact student achievement?
- What are the social and pedagogical challenges of educating children of many different races and classes together in the same classroom?
Dana Goldstein, education journalist and think tank fellow, New America Foundation/Nation Institute/Slate