Saturday, January 30, 2021

‘School choice’ is a dog whistle for resegregation

‘School choice’ is a dog whistle for resegregation
‘School choice’ is a dog whistle for resegregation

Congratulations to Cindy Marten. San Diego Unified School District’s superintendent has been tapped to become the next deputy U.S. education secretary.

Under Marten, San Diego Unified was one of two large urban districts nationwide in 2019 to outperform average test scores for fourth- and eighth-graders. The district’s Black and Latino students also graduated at higher rates than the state average.

Meanwhile, Iowa is headed in the other direction. Like, really far in the other direction.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has proposed a bevy of so-called “school choice” reforms to the state’s education system.

What you’d expect is included. Private school vouchers. More funding for privately operated charter schools.

But most striking is a change that would allow students to transfer out of schools that have a voluntary or court-ordered diversity plan.

Higher-income families (read: well-to-do white families) would be able to remove their kids from schools that educate predominantly lower-income students (read: Black and immigrant families in cities like Des Moines).

In other words, the resegregation of public schools.

No wonder so many right-wing politicians and pundits are gung-ho about vouchers and charter schools. As historian Steve Suitts has documented, “school choice” rhetoric and policies harken back to the racist segregationists of the mid-twentieth century.

Like former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who coordinated with the Ku Klux Klan while cloaking his CONTINUE READING: ‘School choice’ is a dog whistle for resegregation