Segregation: Everywhere and Growing, so What to Do?

This post will be the first of a two-part series on the issue of segregation in schools.   This is not just a Seattle Schools issue; it's a national issue.    (The second part of the series will be about the HCC program and the presentation the Board hear at their last retreat from an expert on gifted programs who gave the Board many ideas on how to expand the make-up of the program.)

Today's Landscape

Segregation in schools is on the rise.  From Business Insider:

The number of students attending "High-Poverty and mostly Black or Hispanic" (H/PBH) public schools — including charter and magnet schools — more than doubled between 2001 and 2014.

From Frontline, possible causes/outcomes:
- Gains achieved by black students in the south are gone 
- Court oversight increasingly faded during the 2000s
- Segregation tends to rise without court oversight 
- Integration is struggling to keep up with enrollment trends. 
Consider that from 1968 to 2011, enrollment among white students fell 28 percent, but grew by 19 percent among black students and a whopping 495 percent among Latinos.  The typical Latino student now attends a school that’s nearly 57 percent Latino, more segregated than blacks and Asians. 
- Whites have the least exposure to students of other races
 Put another way, in a classroom of 30 students, the average white student has 21 white classmates, two black classmates, four Latinos, one Asian and one “other.” Conversely, the typical black or Latino student would have eight white classmates and at least 20 minority classmates.
- Segregation is as much about poverty as it is about race 
- Integration boosts the odds of high school graduation.
In one study, he found that for every year a black student attended an integrated school, their likelihood of graduating went up 2 percentage points. The longer that student stayed in school, the greater his odds.  Johnson found that the difference is tied to the fact that schools under court supervision benefit from higher per-pupil spending and smaller student-teacher ratios.

There was an editorial in the New York Times today on this topic, School Districts Fight Segregation on Their Own.

It may come as a surprise to many Americans who grew up in an era of court-ordered integration, but this country’s public schools are more racially segregated today than a half century ago, with three-quarters of black and Hispanic children attending schools where most students come from low-income families. That’s true for only about a third of white children.
Under Dallas’s ambitious plan, the district would start 35 new schools — including science-centered, Montessori and International baccalaureate schools — to attract white, college-educated families who are flocking to the region to work in the financial services and health care industries. Some schools will set aside seats for students from middle-class families who may already have moved to the suburbs or chosen private schools.
That has yet to happen in the hypersegregated city of New York, where Mayor Bill de Blasio put forward a “diversity” plan in which the word “segregated” fails to appear at all. The first step in grappling with such a problem is summoning the courage to call it by its rightful name.
Our city is a segregated one and from there, we have segregated schools.  For the most part, that is because of racism - red-lining by real estate groups, covenants in neighborhoods about who could buy a house, etc.  From Seattle Met:

“Racially restrictive covenants placed in property deeds applied to housing rentals and home ownership alike. So did realtors’ racist practices. So did bankers’ redlining practices. They were not specific to single family zoned spaces-- they covered nearly all-residential housing in the region.
Background articles on Seattle and segregation

Civil Rights and Labor History Project - this includes the boycott of Seattle Schools in 1966 over segregation

That year, for two days, K-12 students poured out of Seattle ’s public schools and attended “freedom schools” to protest racial segregation in the Seattle school system. Excitement was in the air as the students learned about African America history that was not taught in the public school system. All organizers and participants were striving for an end to segregation, and for two days, the students attended integrated schools, and used an innovative kind of direct action to turn their schoolwork into activism for social change.

In a flyer put out by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), and the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC), they state that Seattle had thirteen predominately “black” schools and over 100 “white” schools. In the Seattle schools, blacks accounted for 9.1 percent of total enrollment. However, the black students were heavily concentrated in a small number of schools. In elementary schools, black students made up 95 percent of Horace Mann; 89 percent of Leschi; 83 percent of Harrison ; 80 percent of TT Minor; 79 percent of Madrona; 76 percent of Colman, and 45 percent of Stevens. About 80 percent of all black students attended two junior high schools, which made Washington 66 percent black and Meany 49 percent. Garfield High School was home to 75 percent of all black high school students, who made up 52 percent of the entire school’s student body..[2]

The Triad Plan would have desegregated all tiers of the school system by matching white schools with those that were predominately black. [5] The elementary schools would be divided into two year institutions and the city would be divided intozones. The students from neighborhoods that fell within the paired zones would go to one school for grades 1-2, another for grades 3-4, and yet another for grades 5-6. Each one of these schools would be located in a different area, which would provide multiethnic education for all students.[6] The basic philosophy was “the need to provide every child, especially the disadvantaged child, with an enriched, expanded community with which to identify.”[7] There were many who supported this proposal as a solution to the problem of segregation, but those supporters did not include the school board.
Seattle Met, July 2015 - Segregation by Design?
The mayor put the notion front and center during the release of the official HALA report. “We are dealing not just with the national crisis of income inequality in our city,” he told reporters at city hall last Monday. “In Seattle, we’re also dealing with a pretty horrific history of zoning based on race, and there’s residue of that still in place.” 

According to Alan Durning, Executive Director of Sightline (a green city agenda think tank) and a member of HALA, members of the mayor’s task force (from both social justice and urbanist backgrounds) experienced a break-through moment during a presentation given by a representative from the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative on redlining in Seattle. “The presenter throws a map up on the screen of the historic red lining in the city of Seattle. And then a map of current population by race and ethnicity. And it’s the same thing,” says Durning. ”[the committee was like] ‘oh, right. It’s [segregation] baked into the design of the city.’”

Silva says that while Seattle never utilized segregationist zoning (unlike Southern cities), covenants had the same effect in dictating racial housing patterns. “It’s not to say that the zoning in Seattle ever said single-family zones equals whites only. But it did. It was de facto segregation,” says Silva. “If you compare neighborhoods like Sodo—that did not have racially restrictive covenants—[with neighborhoods that did], you try and tell me that’s the same kind of housing stock that was produced in Magnolia or Madison park.” (It should be noted that the Central District, Seattle’s historic black neighborhood, created by redlining and covenants, was primarily composed of single-family homes.)

“What we’re trying to do in single-family neighborhoods is make them more affordable, which increases choice for everyone,” Pettis adds, referring to the HALA report’s proposals such as expanding urban villages and up-zoning a sliver of single-family neighborhoods to increase density. “We’re not trying to social engineer, we’re trying to give people [more] choice of where they [can] live. We need to try to make these zones as affordable and accessible as possible. By providing the opportunity for smaller, more affordable homes in choice [single-family] neighborhoods, that should open up these neighborhoods and help with the ability to have a true diversity in our neighborhoods.”
Editor's Note: I'm not sure I'm buying the "we're not try to social engineer" part of that statement above but more choice is better for everyone.  Also, I support some parts of the HALA plan but I find many troubling aspects such as their belief that schools are "amenities."

Seattle Times, June 2008 - Seattle Schools and race; a history (partial and some text is fully the Times and other text I paraphrased for space)

1963 - A committee is appointed to come up with solution to "gross racial imbalance" in certain schools in the Central Area.  Recommends program of open enrollment.

1963 - Start of voluntary transfer program in Seattle, At peak in 1969-70, 2,604 students participated, of whom 2200 were black.

1972-77 - Various attempts to promote voluntary integration, including magnet programs in 27 schools, and adding a strong science program and new facilities at Garfield High.  Still, by district's definition, 26 schools in 1977 remain "racially imbalanced."

1977 - NAACP files a complaint with Office of Civil Rights over racial segregation in Seattle Schools and other groups threaten to go to court.

December 1977 - School Board adopts the Seattle Plan, making it the first major city to adopt a comprehensive desegregation plan without a court order.  Goes into effect, Fall 1978, putting 12,000 on buses.  By Fall 1980, Cleveland High was the only "racially imbalanced" school, but not by much.

Feb. 1981 - Declining enrollment leads Board to approve closure of 10 elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.

1989-1990 - Mandatory busing is scaled back by district and they start a system called "controlled choice."

1997-98 - Superintendent John Stanford ends busing for desegregation and district starts using a "racial tiebreaker" for high schools.  (Editor's notes:  one, Stanford was an African-American and two, the racial tiebreaker was used by minority and white students.)

2000 - Magnolia/Queen Anne parents file a lawsuit over the tiebreaker which, at the time, affected about 300 high school students.

(Editor's note: the parents' issue was being shut out of Ballard High School, the closest one to their neighborhoods over the use of the racial tiebreaker.  They did take the case to the U.S. Supreme court and won.  The Times says the Court "outlaws use of racial tiebreaker."  Broadly speaking, yes.  But the Court said a district could use race as part of an overall package of items for enrollment, not singly as Seattle had done.  In the end, the QA/Magnolia parents never got what they truly wanted - a comprehensive high school for their students.)

Forward steps for the City
The Mayor's office of Civil Rights recently did a random check of rentals and found that people of color got turned away much more often than white people.  For me, that means there needs to be continuing checks with big penalties for that kind of behavior by landlords.

I would also support some kind of lessening of the big package of first/last month rent plus cleaning deposit for low-income renters.  It's daunting to get that kind of month together even when you have a job.

That brings us to HALA and what the City can do and where.

Density.  We're a city and density follows most big cities.  But unless you are a hugely urban city like NYC or Chicago, it may look different here than elsewhere.   I hear the cries that we need brownstones like in NYC or row houses like in San Francisco.  That may be true but I'm not sure how you can make that happen quickly.

I live in a neighborhood where my neighbors and I knew density was coming.  My community embraced the light rail station that is coming (albeit much later than we thought).  My family moved to this neighborhood because we wanted to be able to walk to do errands and not be in a car all the time.

We need for more housing for all the new people but we really need housing for low-income folks and young people just starting their adult lives (I have two of those).  

But one reason I really love Seattle is that it is a city of neighborhoods.  No one who knows the city would ever confuse Ballard with Broadview or Georgetown with Greenwood or Laurelhurst with Leschi.   That's why I would not say put every type of housing in every neighborhood.  At a minimum, mother-in-laws, backyard cottages, and duplexes along with apartment buildings should be in every neighborhood.  I don't think those things would impact the feel of a neighborhood but would allow more housing.  And, given that except for the apartment buildings, those other types of housing would need encouragement to rent to low-income folks.

My neighborhood of Ravenna/Roosevelt is a good example. We are on the main I-5 corridor and we're an urban village site.  Very few people here were against upzones of any type but our neighborhood, unlike many in the city, has no real geographic landmarks.  Our landmark - the gem on the hill - is Roosevelt High School.  We wanted to protect that one landmark from being surrounded and canyoned by really tall buildings.  As for height all along Roosevelt, no one seemed to care a lot about that happening.

I'd like to think the City could work with neighborhoods to find out what is important to their look/feel, protect that and then encourage the heck out of more density in neighborhoods, with an eye to low-income housing needs.

I believe most parents do want diversity in their child's school.  Over at the Facebook page for Soup for Teachers, one comment was made that it seems like diversity is not a priority for parents when choosing housing.  And I'm sure that's true but NOT because parents don't care.  I'd bet most people choose housing based on cost and/or where their jobs are.

Forward Steps for Seattle School District

Other districts around the country ARE taking on big changes to lessen segregation.  Perhaps there are lessons here for SPS.

This article comes from The Century Foundation as part of its Stories of School Integration series that includes NYC, Chicago, Cambridge, Champaign, Illinois, Dallas, and others.

- Eden Prairie, Minnesota - 

Like many locales around the country, the schools in this suburb of Minneapolis have reflected the move from racial homogeneity to increasing racial, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity. Within a twenty-year time period, the county’s percentage of white residents dropped nineteen points—from 94 percent in 1990 to 75 percent in 2010—as the community’s attributes and amenities attracted more minority and immigrant families.1 The attraction has included a highly touted school system.

The Eden Prairie Public School District (EPPSD) has leveraged its increased diversity with school attendance zones created in 2010 to reduce concentrated poverty and increase student achievement as well as operational efficiency. It has been six years since then-superintendent Melissa Krull and the school board undertook a voluntary elementary school boundary change process that generated national media attention, contentious public meetings, and, ultimately, the resignation of her and several school leaders as well as the turnover of all but one of seven board members. Though the process was not easy, it offers the opportunity to assess both the effort and the impact of adapting and embracing the dynamics of a changing community by designing an equity- and diversity-focused student assignment policy.
With assistance from the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity (formerly the Institute on Race and Poverty) at the University of Minnesota Law School, the committee’s recommendations centered on moving from a K–4 to a K–6 model and redrawing boundaries to incorporate students from more and less affluent neighborhoods into each elementary school.9 Although the plan would require a significant number of school transfers in its starting year—with nearly 1,100 Eden Prairie students changing schools—it actually decreased the number of school transitions students would make during their K–12 experience and reduced the average commute time.10
- Morristown, NJ - 
  • Perhaps the most effective approach MSD has taken to make diversity work is taking into account the fact that populations are not static.
  •  Instead of letting these new families become isolated, educators devised solutions such as hiring more bilingual staff—including a social worker and translator—to prevent English language-learner (ELL) students from falling behind and to help engage Spanish-speaking parents who might feel isolated. 
- NYC -
  • New York officials are taking early steps to make diversity a consideration in more of the district’s policies, including allowing some schools to pilot lottery systems that reserve seats for disadvantaged children, rezoning a handful of elementary schools, and awarding eight schools grants to increase diversity.
  • Local leaders in Districts 1 and 3 in Manhattan and District 13 in Brooklyn have been working to design controlled-choice student assignment plans. City lawmakers also passed the School Diversity Accountability Act in 2015, requiring the department to regularly report out demographic data and progress towards diversity. The first report highlighted modest progress.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña have promoted a modest set of innovations developed by school and community leaders to support desegregation efforts, including allowing schools to pilot enrollment practices and lottery systems that reserve a specific percentage of seats for incoming students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, are classified as English language learners, or are in the child welfare system.19
- Chicago -  
  • Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) magnet and selective enrollment schools admit students through a system that both accounts for academic ability and socioeconomic background to ensure that the city’s most popular and competitive schools better reflect Chicago’s diversity.
  • CPS uses several socioeconomic factors to classify census tracts into one of four “tiers,” and reserves a percentage of seats in magnet and selective enrollment schools for applicants in each tier. As a result, Chicago’s selective programs are far more diverse than similar programs in other large urban areas.
  • Low-income and minority students admitted through the CPS plan perform impressively on state assessments, achieving much higher scores than the district average of their more affluent peers and keeping up with the students in their schools who are not classified as low-income.
- Harford, Connecticut - 
  • Hartford Public Schools participates in a two-way desegregation plan that allows city children to attend over thirty surrounding school districts while operating forty-five interdistrict magnet schools that draw in more affluent suburban families.
  • he Hartford School Choice Office employs robust, evidence based strategies to identify target areas for recruitment, design schools that are magnetic and appealing to a diverse group of families, and market those schools in effective ways.  (Editor's note; this is an office in the school district.  I believe asking principals to become marketing experts is unfair; it's a district's job to market schools.)
- Stamford, Connecticut - 
  • Strong district policies and state laws have helped Stamford Public Schools maintain racially and socioeconomically desegregated schools. The school district goes a step further by integrating classrooms through de-tracking.  (Editor's note: they used some very bad tracking techniques in Stamford that, of course, needed to go.
    When Starr arrived in Stamford, middle schools in the district had four or five academic tracks. Students were assigned to tracks at the beginning of their sixth grade year based on a numerical score derived from a number of different standardized tests. They stayed in that group for all subjects, for the entire year, and usually throughout all of middle school. Students who had been in lower tracks in middle school typically ended up in lower-level courses in high school. Some elementary schools had also begun separating students out by reading group levels starting in third grade.) 
  • Stamford’s policy of having all schools fall within 10 percentage points of the district average for enrollment of disadvantaged students (and earlier, minority students) helped ensure that district leaders and the school board would push forward the enrollment policies needed to create more integrated schools. “Having that hard and fast rule was really powerful,” Starr reflected.
- Louisville, Kentucky (Jefferson County) -
  • JCPS’s present-day student assignment plan strives to balance the dual goals of providing family choice among school options with diversity in school enrollment. To do so at the elementary level, the district has categorized every census block within its geographic boundaries based upon that area’s average household income, percentage of white residents, and educational attainment (see Figure 1). Based upon the number of students attending a school from each of those three categories, each school receives a diversity index rating, with a goal to keep each school’s enrollment within an index range from 1.4 to 2.5.
- Champaign, Illinois (Editor's note - sounds similar to Seattle in many ways)
  • Enrollment in Champaign’s elementary schools continues to operate through “controlled choice.” Families rank their school choices and fill out an application indicating whether or not their child is eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. 
  • The student assignment system ensures that each school ends up with a relatively even balance of low-income students—such that each school falls within 15 percentage points of the district average for enrollment of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch—while also giving a preference to siblings and students that live within a 1.5-mile radius of the school.16 
  •  The district’s Family Information Center conducts extensive outreach to families to explain the process and walk them through their school options, holding community forums and open houses throughout the year, and scheduling both daytime and evening opportunities for families to visit schools.17
  • District leaders also meet with local real estate agents once a year to explain the enrollment process and ensure that agents are equipped to represent the process accurately to prospective homebuyers.19 
  • Champaign provides transportation for any student who does not live walking distance from their school, which in a choice-based enrollment system can mean operating a number of different buses and routes. One of the ways that Champaign has helped to control transportation costs is by having half of its elementary schools operate on an early schedule and half on a late schedule 
  • The district has also begun work incorporating elements of trauma-informed care in their schools, working with administrators, teachers, social workers, and psychologists to target the needs of students who have suffered various forms of trauma.
- Cambridge, MA - 
  • Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) remains committed to a “controlled choice” model, which considers family school choices, socioeconomic status, and other factors in the student assignment process. 
    Controlled choice was an approach to school integration largely developed and implemented by student assignment planner and consultant Michael Alves in the 1970s and 1980s after the passage of the Massachusetts’ Racial Imbalance Act. In contrast to approaches based on reassigning students, controlled choice allowed parents to choose schools from across a district while simultaneously giving the district information about the families needed to ensure that schools were balanced racially and/or socioeconomically. Cambridge was the first district in the country to try Alves’s new approach and is still implementing controlled choice today. 
  •  Under this revised socioeconomic controlled choice plan, explained Alves, “When the percentage of students enrolled in a school who receive a “free or reduced lunch” is within 10 percentage points of the district-wide percent free and reduced lunch students, the school is deemed to have met the district’s targeted definition for socioeconomic balance and desegregation.  (Editor's note: the article states this was based on the Seattle court case in which SPS used race as a tiebreaker and lost at the Supreme Court.)
  • Under the guidance of O, Cambridge families enroll at the Family Resource Center, which oversees student assignment for the district. When determining a school for a child, the Family Resource Center considers the family’s socioeconomic status, their list of three school choices, and issues related to the specific program—such as preparedness for a dual language program, school size, and the balance of girls and boys in the particular grade. Children who do not gain entry to any of their top three choice schools may stay on the waiting list until the next enrollment period begins.
There is much that can and could be done.  But what's the best process for starting that effort?


Anonymous said…
We should also remember that in addition to African Americans, nationally there is a history of redlining many racial and ethnic (now considered white) groups, including but not limited to hispanics, southern Italians and Sicilians, Jews and others.

Middle and upper class N European Angle Saxon whites were at the top.
Anonymous said…
Excellent post Melissa. Will go back and re-read.

@lena, why is it every time someone brings up racism on this blog, someone else comments about the plight of certain white communities? Why does that feel important in response to the above?

Anonymous said…
So, we are a major pacific rim port city which has traditionally treated all non-whites pretty poorly. What can we learn from our recent relative success in integrating most Asian groups? Can anything be applied to the integration of other communities?

Anonymous said…
B-Rig- Native Americans, Asians, Latino/Hispanic, and (more so in our past) catholics, Jews and others also have faced and overcome many issues.

As West has stated can anything be applied to the integration of other communities?
Can we learn anything at all? Perhaps regarding some groups there may be similarities. A Puerto Rican scholar and researcher from a very respected university once told me that latino challenges, assimilation and success in the US often takes a few generations, and is similar to the path that various Mediterranean peoples have followed historically in the US. A huge key difference is that Latino immigrants are still immigrating in relatively large numbers (always a group of newer immigrants) while the other groups faced immigrations law restrictions in 1917, 1924 etc. that limited the new immigration of those groups. The subsequent generations of these groups have largely assimilated into the US middle class.
Jessica said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
It seems to be the non-immigrant communities that are not integrating. With housing prices rising as they are- Seattle won't have much in the way of American-black or Native American populations soon.. Only Amazonians, Microsofties, and Trust-fund Babies.

Dwindling Populations
Anonymous said…
Traffic is so terrible that I don't think we can do too much bussing, or over too far of distances.
Anonymous said…
@ West, I agree. Not to mention the additional cost of widescale bussing in these financially challenged times.

Creating more affordable housing in higher income neighborhoods might help, but only if minorities move into that housing. If people prefer neighborhoods with more people of their own race, or fewer whites, the low-income housing efforts might create more economic diversity without having much effect on racial diversity.

What about creating awesome schools in low-income, high-minority neighborhoods, so that people want to go there? If you can attract high income families, the whole school can benefit from the additional PTSA support. Then again, over time housing prices would rise and eventually people would be priced out of their neighborhood. In some ways it seems like the only thing that will work is to ensure that all of our schools reflect the district's income diversity, but the only way to get that given our housing cost patterns is through expensive and time-consuming bussing, which doesn't seem feasible.


"It seems to be the non-immigrant communities that are not integrating." Please expand on that thought; what/who do you mean?

Yes, traffic is very bad and I'm not sure some of the solutions other cities used that involve more transportation could be used.

Messy, well, yes, a good quality school in every neighborhood would be great but we would still have segregated schools.
Anonymous said…
Recent article .... search "Seattle No. 1 in home price growth again; starter homes require half of income - The Seattle Times"

When people speak of segregation trouble/ equity issues / disparities in outcomes- it is about blacks who have been in Seattle as long as any Ballard Scandinavian, or Native Americans who have been here longer than any of us interlopers. No one is complaining that Jewish families, or Japanese Americans are under-represented in our top schools or programs.

Remember, many of Seattle's immigrants are H1B employees with great jobs, or EB5ers who have oodles of family money. They are the folks who can afford to buy or rent in Seattle proper... These are families that choose addresses for top schools, supplement, and go private.

Less affluent immigrants tend to end up in Tukwila, White Center and Shoreline. They tend to work hard and see some children or grandchildren join the middle class.

When all these equity haters get down on parents who push, and supplement, they need to remember that to continue to live in Seattle our children are not competing with Rainer Valley, they are competing with well educated Queen's English Indians, and wealthy and connected Singapore Math Chinese. We are a port city in a global economy.

Anonymous said…
Dwindling-- There are major differences also between immigrant or refugee groups who came to America (free will for opportunity or fleeing poverty, war etc ) as opposed to Native Americans and African Americans who did not. The legacies of slavery and what was done to our native population is still with us.
Anonymous said…
1. Seattle is resegregating in housing.
2. In the lower SPS grade bands, there is disproportional growth of caucasian students and Non-F&RL students.

School assignment is based on address since the NSAP implementation. Therefore, as US 2010 Census data shows Seattle is resegrating, it is not surprising that some schools due to the NSAP may be becoming less diverse. School diversity is NOT the 'choice' of parents (In another thread, some commentors, Madrona parents, expressed that their school was being unfairly misrepresented and accused some parents of avoiding them because of demographics). When it comes to the make-up of our schools, it comes down to the fact that parents live where they live, which is whatever they can afford that, and that drives who then shows up to both neighborhood and option schools (option schools do function largely as neighborhood schools because they has a geozone catchment area).

Another trend: the make-up of SPS does not match the demographics of the city from which it draws, but, that is changing.

The SPS 'demographics gap' has been trending down and narrowing. For example, the 2010 poverty rate for Seattle per the US Census was 13%, yet the SPS F&RL rate was 43%, this is a 'demographics gap'. Also, the census has Seattle at 70% white in 2010, yet SPS was 43% white in 2010. But, this difference is changing direction. For example, from 2011-12 to 2012-13, there was a 65% jump in that same group as % of all SPS K to 8 students; in that same time period, it appears that not-F&RL enrollment grew disproportionately when compared to FRL's 'market share' of SPS total K thru 8 enrollment. Perhaps the economy is better and so more families have transitioned away from F&RL status. Or, maybe more non-F&RL families are now choosing to join SPS.

The lack of diversity in neighborhoods does impact schools, but, it impacts schools selectively: research has shown that racial isolation in schools is correlated with poor performance for Black/African Americans or Latino majority schools, but racial isolation does not correlate with poor performance for Asian or Caucasian majority schools, regardless of those schools' economic status.

Blaming schools or teachers is myopic. Really, what drives this is housing policy, and that the City of Seattle controls. Given the historical roots of economic inequality are heavily linked with racism, it is not surprising (it is tragic) that Seattle's Black/African American population is disproportionately represented in the lower socio-economic status. So, when Seattle concentrates ultra-affordable low-income housing in one area, that has an impact on schools. If affordable housing policy was more enlightened, schools would be more diverse. And that impact would be profound for all students is an incredibly positive way.

At the low end of segregation are Sunbelt metros including Fort Lauderdale, Stockton, Modesto, and Albuquerque, and
Northwestern metros including Seattle and Portland. However, since 1980, segregation has soared in both Seattle and Portland.
Logan and Stults 2011

It may feel good to 'blame' HCC students or parents, for what, I don't know, but, that won't improve outcomes for students living in poverty. Better housing policy would improve those outcomes, but, then the City would have to tangle with developers, and, that will never happen. Yet, that is what it would take to really move the needle. Another task force, paying a consultant $88K, won't change anything. Taking apart HCC won't help a student living in Section 8 housing in Alki. But, it would hurt other vulnerable students.

Fix Housing
Dwindling, "equity haters?" You're skirting close to the no name-calling rule. Plus, I'd like you to find/name someone who is against equity for schoolchildren.

Good points, Fix Housing.
Anonymous said…
Sorry. My wording was interpreted wrong way around. I guess I should go back to public school. I meant "haters" who use the term "equity" like a dagger to the back, in a hateful way, as seen in some threads about gifted and high achievers. I think most of us here are trying to promote equity, and diversity for that matter, although often at cross interests...

well, except for that guy on the other thread who doesn't want his tax monies helping Muslims. That guy would be the one example I can think of-since you asked.

Anonymous said…
We could create more housing rules, or we could also create wage incentives. If those large companies that are driving up our real state market want favorable tax treatment why not require top salaries to go to at least that 30% non-white long-time residents that we want to maintain in our cities.

Then those folks could live in any neighborhood and go to any school they choose. I bet that would desegregate our schools a lot faster.

Do you think Amazon would leave over a rule like that? Maybe?

Equitable Wages
Anonymous said…
Maybe the top half of wages would promote diversity by besting the city stats overall? JSC could lead the way by laying off some directors and assistant superintendents until targets are met.

Equitable Wages

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