White transfer story a stretch
The headline in Sunday ‘s paper — “You can’t transfer, white kids told” — could just as easily have been “School district refuses to re-segregate” or “School district complies with spirit of Brown decision.” Of course, that would not be nearly as provocative as the one designed to sell more papers and allow members of the white community to believe they have fewer privileges than families of color.
School district officials are not ignorant. They know that if every transfer request is granted, some of our schools will become even more racially segregated and inequitable.
Also, it is interesting that your story focuses on the 140 denials rather than the 286 acceptances and, more specifically, on the 77 out of 140 denials that used racial balance as a reason for the denial.
Incidentally, my own daughter was denied a transfer in 1999. I guess if she were white we could have had a feature story about it.
— Gloria Ladson-Billings, UW-Madison professor, Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education
See also here:
Thomas J. Mertz
One response to “White transfer story a stretch”
More pain and misunderstanding. I’m not sure it’s clear to people moving into the district that there is some resistance for out-of-district transfers, on any basis. We also have a problem with transfers within the district – and fairly large swings in racial balance across elementary schools. This is largely from the real racial segregation at the neighborhood level.
We also need to recognize that Wisconsin rates very poorly among the states for accepting people of color.
When are we going to realize that racial diversity is a real community and educational value? Given the murky waters that the Supreme Court has stirred, wiping out some of the foundations for addressing racial disparities in schools, we’re bound to be in a mess for awhile.
Perhaps the work to do is to stretch out a bit, get to know each other, make friends with a wider range of folks, and learn to embrace more of the broad missions of public education.
Here are a couple other reader’s letters in WSJ, Sept. 12:
Rainwater ‘s response requested
Thank you for the front-page story about the Madison School District ‘s handling of the Chapter 220 legislation meant to encourage racial balancing.
As a parent planning to relocate because of our inability to freely choose our child ‘s school, I await a follow-up from district Superintendent Art Rainwater. He pleads paralysis on the topic and shrugs off questions, but I ‘m trying to consider the possibility that there ‘s more to his thinking and the district ‘s treatment of Chapter 220 legislation than the article reveals.
Still, with the recent Supreme Court ruling and in light of your coverage, Rainwater has some more explaining to do.
Parents of white kids who want to enroll outside the district can pursue change only through legal channels. Really? Why is our district the only district that has its hands tied this way? With all other Wisconsin school districts offering true open enrollment, it just doesn ‘t appear the state Legislature is the one holding the rope in Madison ‘s schools.
— Jenny Fiore, Fitchburg
Racial balance through racism?
I am disgusted with the Madison School District and Superintendent Art Rainwater for their blatantly racist policies. It disturbs me that they reject any transfer request based solely on race factors, but far worse, they are picking on only one racial group.
While I believe schools should be allowed to use ethnicity as a factor in transfer requests, it should not be the only reason for rejection, nor should only one race be singled out. Imagine the hysteria that would arise if only African-Americans were forced to stay at a school. Picture the chaos and media coverage if Hispanic students were the only ones limited in school choice.
Using race as a sole factor for one ethnic group in determining transfer requests is inequitable and should be stopped.
— Wesley Grunke, Madison