Saturday, August 13, 2016

John Thompson: How suburban sprawl divides OKCPS from its peers - NonDoc

How suburban sprawl divides OKCPS from its peers - NonDoc:

How suburban sprawl divides OKCPS from its peers

suburban sprawl
A dilapidated sign stands July 29 outside F.D. Moon Elementary School in Northeast Oklahoma City. White flight following desegregation and the ensuing suburban sprawl contributed to the disparities now observable between OKCPS and Edmond schools. (Josh McBee)

Steve Lackmeyer’s excellent analysis of suburban sprawl, Unsustainable, warns, “After decades of sprawl, Oklahoma City officials know something must change.”
Uncontrolled growth is a threat to the city’s economic well-being as well as our physical health and the environment. To paraphrase a developer, apartment growth “on the fringe” prompts expansion “beyond the fringe.” That makes it even more impossible for Oklahoma City to update its infrastructure, fill potholes and maintain water and sewage systems.
Lackmeyer also reviews the damage suburbanization did to the Oklahoma City Public School System (OKCPS). Before desegregation, the OKCPS served more than 75,000 students, but “white flight” quickly reduced the student population by nearly one half. The more complex process of suburban flight followed. While personal racism was a huge factor in that tragedy, it was the combination of developers’ undue influence, institutional racism and personal choices that put the sprawl on steroids. Segregation by personal preferences (known as the Big Sort) further frayed our city’s social fabric, wrecked our neighborhood schools and put us on the crosstown expressway to years of stagnation.
Twenty-six other school districts surround the OKCPS. The over-proliferation of magnet and charter schools has left behind many schools that served kids who were unable to How suburban sprawl divides OKCPS from its peers - NonDoc:


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