The Century Foundation’s Richard Kahlenberg tells us why research from a new generation of scholars comes to a powerful conclusion: “rather than representing a diversion of funds to ‘busing’ or transportation, spending that reduces socioeconomic school segregation appears to the among the wisest possible investments in all of education.”
In this article, appearing in the Winter 2012-2013 issue of American Educator, Kahlenberg relates the story of our own Wake County NC school district along with that of Jefferson County (Louisville) KY to reflect on the experiences of two districts that have championed socioeconomically diverse learning environments. According to Kahlenberg, three lessons emerge:
- Choice trumps reassignment as a means to promote socioeconomic integration. (Wake County’s magnet school program are a cited as positive way to fill schools through election, particularly in a community that has experienced rapid growth.
- Communication is key. Letting citizens know why integration programs are critical to educational and community success to sustaining these programs.
- “National leadership matters.” Kahlenberg suggests that Wake County receive help from Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan along with comedian Stephen Colbert is the quest to maintain socioeconomic diversity in the assignment plan.