Parents Perpetuating Segregated Schools

Hi Friends,

I hope you enjoyed my last post about Entitlement and Racist Actions. I want to follow up somewhat promptly with more content related to educational equity in particular, especially the ways in which PTAs are structured and the ways in which mostly White and privileged parents turn schools into commodities (“good” and “bad”) thereby upholding white supremacy and systemic racism.

There was a recent story about the DC Urban Moms forum and its role in perpetuating segregation in DC area schools. Vanessa Williamson, Jackson Gode, and Hao Sun write “‘We all want what’s best for our kids:’ Discussions of D.C. public school options in an online forum” (Brookings Institution, 3/29/21). For example, “a great deal of the activity on the forum is dedicated to discussing how to leverage the District’s complex school choice system to ensure that one’s children are in one of the small number of public schools deemed acceptable, a process that reinforces the District’s geographic and educational segregation.” These conversations are happening all over the country and are perpetuating school segregation. If you want to learn more about how to counteract this, check out the resources at Integrated Schools and join our local Arlington chapter.

I also want to call attention to the Virginia PTA “A Deeper D.I.V.E. Webinar: Courageous Conversations — Creating a Safe Space in our PTAs” that addresses inclusion in PTAs and some incredibly important takeaways about the challenges PTAs face and why (start the video from the beginning if it starts partway through). Please take the time to engage with this even if you’re not involved in a PTA — the insights are relevant for much broader applications.

My housing search in Denver has brought my work into my family’s decision-making process as we consider where we want to live after we move. Schools and neighborhoods are segregated there, too, and looking at the DOE data shows evidence of “white flight” neighborhoods. I have already connected with the local chapter of Integrated Schools there so I can listen and learn from people who have been doing this work for a while and who have an understanding of the dynamics. School segregation has also been evident in our conversations with realtors who discuss “good schools” — it has been interesting to push back on their assumptions and start to model another way of thinking for them.

Where can you push back on assumptions and start to question the racist systems that are in place all around us? What everyday conversations are you a part of that you can start to model something different that doesn’t perpetuate bias and discrimination?

Listen. Amplify. Follow.

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