Public schools are about to get broad new freedom to teach blacks and whites separately, perhaps the biggest shakeup to integrated classrooms in three decades.
The Education Department plans to change its enforcement of Title IX, the landmark anti-discrimination law, to make it easier for districts to create single-race classes and schools. The move would give local school leaders discretion to expand choices for parents, whether that means a math class, a grade level or an entire school designed for one race.
"We are not advocating single-race schools, and we are not advocating single-race classrooms," said Ken Marcus, who oversees civil rights for the department. "We understand that integration remains the norm in American public education, and will continue to be the norm. We are simply trying to ensure that educators have flexibility to provide options."
Schools would have to treat whites and blacks equally in determining what courses to offer. And single-race enrollment must be voluntary.
If a school creates a single-race class in a subject, it would not be required to offer the other race its own similar class, but it would have to offer an integrated version of it.
The department's plan would also make it easier to create entire single-race schools.
Current rules allow those schools, but only when a district creates a comparable single-race school for the other race. That restriction would disappear. Instead, districts would have the option of demonstrating that their integrated schools provide "substantially equal" benefits to the excluded race.
In Greensboro, N.C., up to 100 black high-school students who struggled with their academic and social skills recently got their own public school on the Bennett College campus. They feel more free to discuss their problems and are less distracted by white mainstream values, history teacher Shawn Watlington said.
"Whites in high school have different needs more organizational problems while blacks have problems with confidence," she said. "As a teacher, I would have to split myself and deal with both issues, so I had less time to go more in depth."
Of course this is not real. The actual story, which I ruthlessly altered here, talks about single-sex schools, the newest hobbyhorse of the Bush administration. I think they haven't gone far enough, actually. As men are from Mars and women from Venus, we need to build these sex-segregated schools on those planets. Maybe that's why the president wanted us to go to Mars? You know, to scout for the best place to build the boys' dormitories.
Thanks to Jim Kutz for the link.