Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gasp! Reporters Discover CCSD's Segregated Schools!

If you really want a quick run-down of de facto segregation in the Charleston County School District, I recommend the left-hand subject column of this blog. What you will discover is that, silly me, for my first five years back in Charleston after more than 40 living in various parts of the country, I actually thought CCSD's schools were integrated! It's a subject that our local paper has chosen not to explore--until now.

The Jonathan Green mural at Sanders-Clyde and the school's curriculum specializing in the history of slavery are a case in point. The mural greets children as they enter--but only black children, since no white faces appear. This message seems appropriate for a segregated school. Well, Sanders-Clyde does have one white student; evidently, CCSD administration never planned for any more. Meanwhile, fully 40 percent of its 720 students have transferred in from other schools. You can't insinuate, as Parker and Hawes do, that only white and not black parents request voluntary transfers based on race. They aren't making these choices based on the school's performance.

Learning of these statistics, what conclusion can you reach except that many black parents want a segregated school? If you know of some other reason, please comment. "Convenience" is the buzz-word for voluntary transfers, and CCSD does not provide transportation.

Let's not forget that federal government policies after World War II started the move from the peninsula to the suburbs as it granted returning veterans VA loans only on new construction. Talk about unintended consequences! But it's ridiculous to suggest that white movement off the peninsula in the seventies and eighties caused downtown schools to re-segregate: the population on the peninsula has remained (and increased) as majority white since the sixties.

It is remarkable to think that the only high school in this majority-white downtown has merely one white student; it's even more remarkable to realize that nearly 30 percent of Burke's students have transferred from other zones. Again, what gives? It's not the lure of its football team!

Parker and Hawes also try to make the case that Berkeley and Dorchester counties lack these fully segregated schools. They cite that Dorchester District 2 "doesn't have a single school lacking in diversity." Of course not: it has Dorchester District 4 to take that position!

Berkeley County is a different story. Traditionally a rural and black population, only in the past 30 years has it developed as a suburb--and new construction disperses whites from Ohio into the diverse mix. The Charleston peninsula has an entirely different, and much older, history.

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