Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Naima Coster’s “What’s Mine and Yours” Complicates the School Segregation Story | Bitch Media

Naima Coster’s “What’s Mine and Yours” Complicates the School Segregation Story | Bitch Media
“What’s Mine and Yours” Complicates the School Segregation Story

It has been more than 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education legally desegregated U.S. schools, but schools are as segregated now as they’ve ever been. In 2014, Nikole Hannah-Jones, then a reporter for ProPublica, opened many people’s eyes when she chronicled how the segregation embedded in Ferguson, Missouri’s school system contributed to the untimely murder of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. Since then, Hannah-Jones and other education reporters have blown the lid off the idea that U.S. schools treat all students equally and that they follow a system of meritocracy. EdBuild, a public school-focused nonprofit, released a study in 2019 that found that schools systems primarily serving children of color typically receive $23 billion less in funding than those that serve white children—this has a rippling effect that can determine the trajectory of each child’s life. “You can tell these dollars make a difference,” Rebecca Sibilia, CEO of EdBuild, told the New York Times in 2019. “Walk into a rural nonwhite community. Walk into an urban nonwhite school district. You can see what that means in terms of how much that has added up over time.”

It’s not only funding—or a lack thereof—that keeps students from receiving the education they deserve. There’s also a concerted effort in wealthier communities to create enclaves that purposely exclude children from poorer communities, the majority of whom are children of color. The same EdBuild study found that more than 50 percent of children in the United States are in segregated districts where more than 75 percent of their classmates are either white or nonwhite, depending on where they live—and wealthy parents, many of whom are white, fight tooth-and-nail to keep it that way. That’s how we’ve gotten to the point where nearly one-fifth of public schools in the United States have close to no students of color. (These are the same schools that hoard more than their fair share of resources.) Our schools are still separate and unequal, an idea that is central to Naima Coster’s second novel, What’s Mine and Yours, which focuses on two parents, Lacey May and Jade, and their children, Noelle and Gee, respectively, as their school begins an integration program that ignites tensions.

On the surface, Jade and Lacey May have a lot in common: Both women are working-class parents in North CONTINUE READING: Naima Coster’s “What’s Mine and Yours” Complicates the School Segregation Story | Bitch Media