Sunday, April 5, 2015

Two Cities, Two Situations

Like many other cities, a court forced the city of Louisville and Jefferson County (a county near Louisville) to integrate their schools in the 1970s. While many cities integrated upon the court’s orders, many of them slowly went back to having segregated schools because of a multitude of reasons. Despite what other cities did, Louisville and Jefferson County strived to maintain integrated schools.

In Jefferson County, more than half of the residents live below the poverty level; however, this does not stop students from obtaining a quality education. Both the city schools and schools in Jefferson County are in the same district and maintain well-integrated schools by busing students to different schools in the district. Neighborhoods in Louisville that are predominantly white have school demographics that are “49 percent white, 37 percent black, and 14 percent Latino and otherethnic and racial groups” because of busing. It is incredible that neighborhoods that are predominately white do not have predominantly white schools. This is extremely beneficial for students and one can argue that the tremendous amount of success Louisville has stems from the integrated schools and the valuable life lessons and corroboration skills they teach.  Students learn to interact with all races and classes. The principal at Hawthorne Elementary in Louisville said, “Our PTApresident will drive downtown into neighborhoods she probably would not havegone to, to pick up kids to bring to her house for sleepover.” People are willing to accept other people and bridge the gap between the rich and poor, black and white… what better proof is there than the sleepovers they have!

Unfortunately, not all school districts excel in having tremendous amounts of diversity like Louisville. Even in Winnetka, our schools are largely populated by whites and still very segregated. Everyone at New Trier is mainly white and wealthy, leaving little room for diversity.

Another city that is displaying large amounts of segregation is Detroit. Detroit and Louisville both had court orders in the 1970s that forced them to integrate schools by combining city schools with suburban schools. At the time, both areas were about 20 percent black and 80 percent white. While Louisville continued to keep the court order alive, Milliken v. Bradley wrongly released Detroit’s court order in 1974 and schools once again became segregated.

Myron Orfield, the director of the Insititute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota, found that in 2000, the average black Detroit student went to schoolwith less than two percent white students, but in Louisville, the average blackstudent went to a school that was half white. These comparisons show just how much the schools differentiated after the court order in Detroit was released and demonstrates the amount of power the court has on school segregation. These statistics ultimately led to African American students in Detroit being poorly educated and created a less accepting and unified world compared to Louisville, which has done everything right.

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