Apr 18, 2013

Which are the best schools in Kansas City? Dancing around the big issues of race, resegregation, and home schooling.

Wichita NAACP
This article below needs reposting far and wide in Kansas City, if only because so few people actually say what most are afraid to say... Why KC schools are "bad", if they are.   Some say this answer:  It isn't the schools, it's the students.

Whatever it is, I suspect nearby suburbs exist very much because of the KC schools.   What the courts integrated, the residents RE-segregated.    They didn't really talk about it, they just packed up and moved out, fleeing for the civility new housing developments and new, whiter schools.

I was reminded back in 1978 one day when one of the Popes died that year.  I forget which one.    A TV reporter at the time, I was sitting in the lobby of Wichita South high waiting to do an interview on something or other.   I was watching a security guard take a knife away from a black student during the time when WPS was struggling with forced busing for integration.  The schools that year were a bit tense.

My pager went off.  (Yes we had pagers in '78.)  The assignment desk sent me over to Bishop Carroll Catholic high school to get reaction of the Pope's passing.

The contrast between Wichita Public schools and Wichita's west side Catholic school was stark.  Wichita schools were usually noisy.  Carroll's quiet halls and orderly students reminded me of my days at surburban SM West in Overland Park 15 years earlier.   Far different than some Wichita high schools, where white students didn't go down 'black' halls where the black kids hung out together and considered those halls theirs.  While Wichita schools were well run and the educators worked very hard to get court-ordered busing to work, those were times when academics took a back seat to integration.  Actually there wasn't much violence considering what it could have been.  Just a lot of resentment and hard feelings by very different students forced to go to school together.

Students learned less about the three R's as they did how to get along in those first few years.   I'd reported that in some of my TV stories, back when television news actually covered something besides murders and the birth of zoo animals.

This is all relevant to me when I realize this problem has been going on for some time.    35 years ago in another city!   And resegregation when whites, and growing numbers of blacks,  move to the suburbs and the wealthier ones living in KCMO get out their checkbooks and send their kids to private schools.

Now the article by Randolph Swope you should read:


This link was posted by an anonymous reader on my blog this week. I think it was worthy of more attention so I give it a post of its own.   This post is meant to give you something to think and talk about.  There is lots of research and even more opinions on the issues of fixing education in major cities like ours.   And of course the not-so-subtle assertions that to even TALK about is racist.  IS IT?

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