Monday, December 12, 2016

CCSD Takes Top Honors as Most Segregated in SC

Image result for many school buses

In case you were under the illusion that the Charleston County School District, consolidated in the 1970s to force integration, actually is integrated, one look at the latest state statistics should disabuse you of that chimera. Of course, students need not fear being shut out of Wando because they are black; they simply live in other parts of the district and go to high schools that are de facto black. Those who do live in its attendance zone or whose parents know how to work the system win the lottery.

See, we have strange anomalies such as Memminger Elementary, the school closest to the wealthiest white neighborhoods on the peninsula. It's also de facto black. According to a spokesman for the State Department of Education, "Charleston is a strange anomaly. I think Charleston, of any of the districts, has the largest discrepancy between, I guess you would say, rich and poor. You have some of the wealthiest of the wealthy and the poorest of the poor, and they're not that far away from each other." The richest are white; the poorest are black.

When was the last time attendance zones changed in the heart of the district? What prevents the attendance zone of under-utilized Burke High (another segregated high school) from extending across the Cooper to take in older neighborhoods in Mt. Pleasant? Please don't say distance, not when thousands of students are bussed hither and yon all over the district every day.

Part of the problem is lingering racial attitudes. Part of the problem is low academic and behavioral expectations in historically black schools. Part of the problem is housing patterns. Part of the problem is historically black schools' wishing to keep their identities. 

If you're looking to turn over a new leaf in 2017, surely these obviously segregated educational patterns are the place to start.

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