What is up with the Times and their op-eds? This one by John Miller, one of the parents in the recent Supreme Court case, appeared in today's Times. This is the second one on this topic in 2 weeks. I'm thinking the parents in this case must be getting a lot of blowback from the outcome because why in the world is the Times pushing this? I'm guessing it's both blowback and an opening salvo to let the Board know they shouldn't try it again.
With Justice Kennedy's deciding vote (but his separate opinion), he left open the door to use of race in determining school assignment. His opinion said that he did not agree with the use as stated by the district and he laid out, vaguely, how it might be used. It is up to the District and the Board to decide, as they roll out the enrollment plan, what the tiebreakers might be. Do they dare try to use race again in a more tailored fashion (i.e. break out by every single race rather than the previous white versus non-white) or do they abandon it altogether and try income (but with the cautions found in my previous post of the NY Times article on its use elsewhere in the country)?
I could argue against each of Mr. Miller's points but I'll just choose one:
"The School Board plan not only didn't achieve diversity, but by labeling every student white or nonwhite, it did not recognize how truly racially diverse a city Seattle is."
He's right; Seattle is an incredibly diverse city....that lives in segregated neighborhoods (by history, by choice, by income, you name it). If you cut off any route to diversify the schools, you will have segregated schools. Mr. Miller claims that the racial differences without the use of the racial tiebreaker are minimal (define minimal) but, as I have stated before, I believe we are just on the tail end of the last of siblings whose older siblings were the original users of the tiebreaker. We'll see over the next couple of years.
I feel from our discussions on high school assignment that assignment trumps diversity in what people want. That is neither good or bad, it is just how it seems to line up. The one thing that can't work is the inequity of offerings at the high school level. Just as the parents in the court case didn't want to be "forced" to go to a school they didn't want, parents in the south end should not be given lame options to save money on transportation. You can't ask them to put sweat equity into building up a school if the district isn't going to put effort into the curriculum, principal, etc. I am going to have faith in Ms. Santorno when she says this is what the district will do.