Last week in the Strib, an op-ed by Will Stancil – described as “Will Stancil is a researcher at the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota” – declared:
But in the Twin Cities, many of those grade-schoolers are sitting in segregated classrooms. Single-race schools have been making a comeback in Minnesota.
It’s the charter schools that are the problem. Charters are rapidly growing, but still controversial, with their effectiveness hotly debated. Despite that controversy, or perhaps because of it, a disturbing reality about charters is widely overlooked: Many boast student bodies that are entirely composed of members of one race.
We can’t allow new ideas about education to erode civil rights progress…Charter advocates frequently insist on the need to close the equity gap and create opportunity for all students, no matter their race. But their commendable agenda cannot proceed in a segregated organization. As we celebrate Brown’s legacy, we should also remember its lessons: that integration is the grandfather of all equity issues and that racial separation is a root cause of American inequality…Charter schools should not allow themselves to become flagbearers for a divided system reminiscent of an uglier era.
I read it – and marked it down to address this week.
But Bill Wilson – the first black Saint Paul City Councilman – and education activist Joe Nathan did it first, in the Strib, and did a fine job…
…in part by noting Stancil’s invocation of the “S” word was cheap, inflammatory and wrong (emphasis added):
Some critics don’t seem to understand the huge difference between forcing people, because of their race, to attend a school, and giving new options to people, especially those from low-income families and families of color.
This exposes the great divide in education – between:
- the “public” mandate that uses the school system to send society a symbolic message (however good that message may be), and maybe “educate” the kids in the bargain
- The “individual choice” model, which empowers families to, y’know, see to their kids’ education.
For many kids, school is hard enough without having to solve all the social problems their parents kicked down the road to them. And so their families choose – choose! – schools that actually work, on the assumption that it’s better for their kids to compete on a more level intellectual playing field later than to serve as some bureaucrat’s statistical incentive today.
Read the Wilson/Nathan piece. Compare it with Stancil’s tone-deaf vapidity.
And then remember which party has always fought against school choice.