The New Yorker: Politics And More

A Progressive Parent Confronts Segregated Schooling

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Sinopsis

As a new arrival in Oakland, California, Courtney Martin wondered why there were no white kids on the playground of her nearby elementary school. That school, other white parents told her euphemistically, was “not a good fit” for their children; she found that the school had received a score of one out of ten on a school-data Web site. Martin began looking into the vexed racial dynamics in urban public schools. “Here we all are,” she said, in a conversation with Andrew Marantz. “Progressive people who have moved [to Oakland] . . . to live in multiracial, urban community. And then we’re going to very specifically try not to go to the school with kids of color.” Integration, according to educational research, aids outcomes for children of color. But her child’s Black teacher told Martin that she was skeptical of how this finding created the notion that white students are needed to “save” a public school. Martin wrote about these complex moral choices in “Learning in Public: Lessons for a Racially Divided Americ