Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh Meyer Goodness! Redux

Last week, Peter Meyer wrote a piece that I called "baffling".  Well, at least he's consistent, because today he did the same thing again.  Over at Flypaper, he almost seems to be calling for a return to segregated schools.

Here's some context: This NY Times article today referenced this report about suspensions in urban middle schools, the major finding of which was that black students (particularly males) were much more likely to be suspended than white students -- and that the gap had widened over the past few decades.

Meyer makes a leap at the end of his post, implying that the desegregation of schools is responsible for this disparity and referencing an MLK quote from decades ago to back up his support of segregated schools.

In the post where he first references the MLK quote, he does make a reasonable point that desegregation shouldn't be our sole policy aim (though, at the same time, I don't think very many people think it should be).

But there are two major problems with his latest post:

1.) As far as I can tell, the report says zero about any differences in suspension rates between more and less racially diverse schools.  In other words, there's really no readily apparent evidence for Meyer's claim.

2.) 1954 has come and gone.  We, as a society, have decided that separate but equal is inherently unequal.  Nostalgia for the past is one thing, but do we really have to go back and repeat all our mistakes?  Black males are also more likely to be arrested, does that mean we should create segregated neighborhoods to accompany our segregated schools?

I hardly think Mr. Meyer's next post is going to argue for separate drinking fountains and bathrooms, but he'd do well to remember that it's a slippery slope.  If you're going to advocate for segregated schools, please do so more thoughtfully and use actual evidence.

update: I originally misspelled Mr. Meyer's name as "Mayer" in this post. My apologies; no matter how much I disagree with him on this issue he still deserves to have his name spelled correctly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

food for thought:


i think the argument (at least the one that's been heard in my household) is that if there's only one color of kid at the school, you don't have to worry about one color of kid being ignored/singled out/left behind. and remember that brown wasn't supposed to be about integrated schools, it was supposed to be about getting equal resources for students of color. so instead we got "integrated" schools that are still mostly segregated and still don't get the same resources as most white schools. i'm not sure i'd call that a victory.