Days of Change

It’s Funny How People Calling for Sacrifice Don’t | July 20, 2014

The most political influence I got from my parents has to do with public education. One of the most intrusive and expensive aspects of government has been in the schools. Even before the unionization and collectivism of trying to indoctrinate the next generation, the funding model for schools has been arbitrary and prone to disproportionate outcomes.

Most schools in America are grouped by districts. These can be by county, city or other geographical divisions. School budgets are determined by elected school boards and voted on by residents of the district. This can have the effect of creating poor and wealthy districts where schools can be of wildly different qualities only a few miles away.New York is notorious for courts forcing the state to put extra money into poor districts. Others simply got larger and larger to encompass both poor and wealthy and their tax base. This is part of what is detailed in this week’s PBS Frontline, “Separate and Unequal.”

The through-line for the story is focused on the Dangerfield family. The matriarch is a Black single mother and a manager at Fed Ex. She often has to work late and also gets three sons ready for busing to three different schools in the East Baton Rouge Parish. The schools in her neighborhood are substandard and Louisiana has policies for the voluntary busing of students to increase opportunity and diversity.

In the past, communities with large Black and White populations constructed schools in the same vicinity where one allowed Whites and one allowed Blacks. The Black schools would frequently be underfunded, leading to the Brown v. Board of Education decision that schools would be desegregated and anyone in a geographic area would go to one school. This led to so-called White flight, where White families moved far enough away to be the large majority in a local school. Courts began social engineering with the concept of busing. Black children could be transported outside of their relatively bad school to better White schools.

In Baton Rouge, parents have apparently become fed up with a generation of busing creating large schools with discipline problems. Their solution is to downsize the district by incorporating a new St. George City with a school district to match. With busing laws struck down by the Supreme Court, the St. George parents hope to populate schools with the children of the neighborhood who are more accountable than students who live miles away.

Predictably, PBS framed this as a plan by Whites to create a 70% White district (the current East Baton Rouge Parish population is about 50% White) with a more robust tax base. Then again, this is what property taxed based funding is about. People move to neighborhoods because they are attached to good schools. Right now, they are short of the 18,000 signatures needed to put the plan on the ballot and local government has already stepped in to block it. This actually proves their point.

Nikki Dangerfield has a good job, but with one income and four kids, (her daughter is in college) her educational options are to send her kids to better performing schools outside of her neighborhood. She is apparently unable to do anything about the under-performing schools near her home. Instead of the middle class White parents leaving to create better schools, this is a case of a Black parents with better income and more determination abandoning a primarily Black school for the same reasons parents want to form the City of St. George.

Geographical racial segregation is frequently voluntary and often political. States often create districts with just enough minority population to turn the government their way. The mayor of East Baton Rouge Parish is a Black Democrat. He believes money is the solution for education problems, even though evidence would prove otherwise. The White population has little say in the matter because their district has been racially gerrymandered. They put the most money into the government and have the smallest voice, which runs counter to the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The problem with the current government is that they seem to think Black families can just bus their kids to White schools. That just leads to one really bad all-Black school that does a disservice to all its pupils.





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1 Comment

  1. I am also a product of public schools, through grad studies. But I truly believe that unless they want them to be brainwashed by the pc crowd, those with traditional values can no longer send their children to public schools.

    And I refuse to accept the lie that because I am Conservative, white and middle class, I am guilty of racism and purveying social injustice.

    Comment by Mary — July 21, 2014 @ 12:31 am

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