12 September 2015

Headline of the Day

Liberals Push to Correct Inequality — Just Not If It Involves Opening Up Our Neighborhood Schools.

It's a pity that the article that goes along with it, which I am not linking to, is a piece of crap generated by Campbell Brown's corporate whoring AstroTurf "educational" organization, where the entire thing is a screed about how liberals really should support education by and for Wall Street Charter Schools, because it means that a few brown faces in those schools.

It's an intellectually bankrupt piece, and willfully obtuse, as Matt Bruening (the link above) so ably notes:
You see, we know very well how to integrate schools along class and racial lines. It’s called busing and we used to do it. Yet, isn’t it weird that Williams never writes about busing? Isn’t it weird that you hardly hear a peep out of that entire gang about busing? Why don’t they advocate for explicit integration through busing instead of these charter schools which may or may not even have a desegregating effect (and even where it does, not nearly to the same degree as busing would). Isn’t it awfully convenient that these folks say they definitely care about school integration and inequality but refuse to advocate for the most effective solution for it?

When pressed on this, one of the responses you will hear is that they don’t see practically (speaking in political terms) how we can get busing. But why would people oppose busing, one has to wonder. Is it because they don’t want to send their kids to school with poors and blacks? But wait, isn’t that the same reason they don’t like charters? Isn’t the opposition the same to both things? Why advocate one thing that runs up against a brick wall due to racism and dislike of the poor but not another thing that runs up against the same brick wall?

There are two basic answers here.

The first is that the charters don’t promise integration (and in many cases brag about how segregated they are, e.g. KIPP gleaming about how uniformly poor and black their schools are). So the reformers sidestep the hurdle of the racist affluent white liberal by basically giving in entirely to their desire for segregation, which charters don’t threaten that much if at all.

The second is that practicality is defined here in terms of what you might call the Left Wing of the Fundable. You can get money to push for charter schools and privatization and breaking teacher/public unions (all things the education reformers push, including right now Students First pushing a SCOTUS case that aims to eliminate all public sector union security, not just for teachers). You can get a fellowship at a think tank to push for those types of things. They are thus practical in the sense that there are enough rich people and institutions with somewhat mixed interests that are willing to pony up the money necessary to push them through our hilariously undemocratic political system and to fund a healthy number of advocate jobs. The same money doesn’t exist for busing advocacy.

So who then is really the intrepid supporter for integration in all of this, I am left to ask. Is the education reformer who dare not say a peep about busing because it’s outside of the Left Wing of the Fundable and too radically integrationist the real no-nonsense advocate willing to say what needs to be said? I don’t think so.
The title has some real truth to it:  Far too many liberals call for problems to be fixed, and then recoil in horror when they discover that this involves the smallest sacrifice on their part (i.e. busing and cross district money transfers), but the rest of the article, which is so ably Fisked by Mr. Bruening, is bovine scatology.


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