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Thread summary:

Kentucky: education, social engineering, private school, diversity.

 
Old 07-26-2008, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
209 posts, read 685,326 times
Reputation: 136

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Near the end of the school year when I was in 4th grade - in 1955 - our teacher, Mrs. Elliott, quietly announced that next year we would have 'colored children' going to school with us and that we should welcome them. Louisville was the first school system in the South to integrate peacefully - thanks, no doubt in part, to the liberal Courier-Journal and its forward-looking editor, Barry Bingham. Integration was in many ways a relief - the segregation the city enforced seemed like an ugly vestigial organ and the progressive elements of the city must have been relieved to have the federal government behind the necessary ending of it.

In the seventies the federal government again led us to do the right thing - requiring Jefferson County and Louisville school systems to merge. There was trouble and flight this time, but in the long run, it led to our further progressiveness and Metro Government (Was that Tomo I just heard groaning? For those who never left the area and lived elsewhere, it is hard to understand how fortunate we are here to have made that merger).

In the 70's we were forced to do the right thing; in the 90's the same court told us we didn't have to do the right thing if we didn't want to. But by this time a real moral intelligence had grown here and we chose to do the right thing.

And then, of course, the Bush-packed court told us we couldn't do the right thing. Louisville had grown to the point that we would continue, against the odds, to do it anyway. The result, no doubt controversial, but the result of a parental population that says (88%) maintaining integration in schools is an important goal for the community - the result is a 'new kind of intergration' that is being respected around the country.

I wonder how many saw the major piece in the New York Times Magazine this past Sunday: The Next Kind of Integration.

No matter your politics such a glowing report on the intelligence and progressiveness of our community helps us. It reveals us as thoughtful and resourceful, a people trying to build a city that works. If you think a city that refuses to try to keep all its people in contact and communication can be a great city, I must say you are wrong. It can be difficult, painful, and challenging, but it is absolutely necessary to work towards understanding and contact. I am proud to live in a city that is trying to answer the tough questions instead of ignoring them.

Having lived in Rochester NY, a city with nearly hopeless segregation, and having taught in an inner-city school there, I can tell you first-hand the result of dumping the poor and turning your back.

Read the NY Times article. We are doing the right thing.
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Old 07-26-2008, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 4,175,560 times
Reputation: 540
I have mixed feelings about this.

What this countywide social engineering does (and it is social engineering) is drives people who can afford it into private schools or into surrounding countys.

In the case of every urban area in Ohio the situation is similar to Rochester, the middle class has abandoned urban schools by going private or by moving out of the urban district.

In the case of Jefferson County the same thing is happening, but at the scale of an entire county. People go to the catholic system or other private schools, or move to Bullet and Oldham (on the KY side) or to Southern Indiana.

I know this is the case because that is what my brother in law and sister are doing. Two of there three kids are private (on in the Catholic system, one in KY Country Day), while the third is in the math & science magnet school, still public, but it sounds like a good school (exception proves the rule?).

For people with kids, migrating into the region from places in the Northeast and Midwest, where there are no countywide districts, they will not choose to live in "Louisville Metro" if they want their kids to attend public schools (or want to avoid paying private school tuition). They will precieve JCS as one big urban district, and avoid it.

In fact, looking at the census numbers for school ages one finds more and more students attending private schools the younger the cohort, so there is evidence that parents who can afford it are leaving the JCS and going private.
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:15 PM
 
7,021 posts, read 15,216,695 times
Reputation: 3444
Quote:
Originally Posted by JefferyT View Post
I have mixed feelings about this.

What this countywide social engineering does (and it is social engineering) is drives people who can afford it into private schools or into surrounding countys.

In the case of every urban area in Ohio the situation is similar to Rochester, the middle class has abandoned urban schools by going private or by moving out of the urban district.

In the case of Jefferson County the same thing is happening, but at the scale of an entire county. People go to the catholic system or other private schools, or move to Bullet and Oldham (on the KY side) or to Southern Indiana.

I know this is the case because that is what my brother in law and sister are doing. Two of there three kids are private (on in the Catholic system, one in KY Country Day), while the third is in the math & science magnet school, still public, but it sounds like a good school (exception proves the rule?).

For people with kids, migrating into the region from places in the Northeast and Midwest, where there are no countywide districts, they will not choose to live in "Louisville Metro" if they want their kids to attend public schools (or want to avoid paying private school tuition). They will precieve JCS as one big urban district, and avoid it.

In fact, looking at the census numbers for school ages one finds more and more students attending private schools the younger the cohort, so there is evidence that parents who can afford it are leaving the JCS and going private.

This is true, but it is also what makes Louisville so great. In fact, of all the places I have lived and traveled, I see the racial harmony here as good or better than ANYWHERE. I truly believe it has lots to do with many natives being reared in diverse schools, something people in almost any other city are not used to. If you live in Detroit, you were raised in an all black school. In New York, you went to an all hispanic or all black school. In White Plains, NY, its all white. Where is the mixing?

As the article states, the beauty of a midsized, merged city like Louisville is that as far as cities go, it runs the gamut. Like you said, people relocating to Louisville think JCPS is just big urban school district and to them, urban=ghetto. This is just not the case! And then you have realtors and relocation specialists really pushing the edge counties, and you end up getting sprawl. But there is a unique draw and racial harmony in Louisville and I think integreated schools and bussing played a big part. I think cobolt mentioned all the interacial couples was the first thing she noticed in Louisville....
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Old 07-26-2008, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
209 posts, read 685,326 times
Reputation: 136
stx gets it right, as usual. What we should be doing is educating newcomers about the balance and integration here, not scrapping it and returning to having a few schools of pure poverty in order to keep the 'good' ones white. One key finding mentioned in the article is that schools can succeed when there is a critical mass of middle-class and above students. It's that simple. And Louiville maintains that status - has for years - and is trying to continue it.

In Rochester the City Schools are about 13% white. By the time I retired, the school where I taught was probably lower than that. My kids would laugh when they heard the word 'minority': "Why do they call us 'minority', Mr. Wilson? Look around!" People who run shrieking from black people are usually the last to want to use tax money for Head Start, or education of public schools. But they'll shake their heads over 'those people' and support more and more prisons. The culture that creates the crime and the violence is the result of separation.

There are two things that make many white people bristle: the speech of black people and the dress. One of the first things my wife and I noticed when we returned to Louisville is that African-Americans rarely speak extreme "ghetto." One thing Northern liberals and white conservatives alike will not admit is that such speech is - aside from the poetry, metaphor, turn of phrase that often grow from it - a kind of pathology that is the result of separation from educated forms of discourse. It is not 'natural black speech', but the shrinking of possibilities of utterance. When the races come in contact comfortably with each other, language grows. The more isolated, the more diminished. Louisville is a town rich in speech, informed by the poetries and ironies of black Southern speech and seasoned by black urban speech, by the dry wit and odd metaphors of Appalachia, by the gracious and often purple speech of the landed classes of the old South. As a teacher of literature for 35 years, I relish this diversity of speech. It is an indication of the diversity and contact here in this city. Let us not abandon it.
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
6,749 posts, read 20,938,614 times
Reputation: 2169
I don't understand for the life of me why they changed a system that has been working for 30 years over one person. Something else is how come we only hear about the Louisville part of it but not Seattle?
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