Why “Neighborhood Schools” Remain Oxymoronic

S t. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler is to be commended for his piece illuminating the challenges and ironies in Pinellas County’s “controlled choice” program for its public schools. That’s the scheme by which the county hopes to retain a legal level of integration by convincing parents to choose a school other than the closest one.

Lots of luck.

This far removed from the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, the issue is no longer “separate but equal.” School boards have it within their wherewithal to ensure that, irrespective of neighborhood, comparable educational facilities, curricula and level of instruction are available. No one is revisiting Plessy v. Ferguson just because school boards can’t influence socio-economic and cultural factors beyond their purview.

What this is now about is the one politically incorrect stand that remains acceptable to the liberal educational establishment: Too many black children in a school is not compatible with a good learning environment. This should, of course, be insulting. That’s why no one will actually utter those otherwise racist words, but that’s the reason the “neighborhood school” concept is now oxymoronic.

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