Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

In Pursuit of Diversity, Demographics Matter

July 31, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

“The challenge,” write Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decisions barring race-conscious school assignments in Seattle and Jefferson County, Ky., is “ensuring that this reversal isn’t the last word, and that where diversity and integration are still possible, they be pursued intensely” (“The Integration Decision,” Commentary, July 18, 2007).

Alas, intense pursuit of diversity will prove frustrating. As a Houston editor recently asked me, “What are they [policymakers] going to do when there are no more white students left to bus? Houston public schools now have a 5 percent white enrollment.”

Demographics matter. In 1970, the United States was 83 percent non-Hispanic white. Today, it’s 66 percent white—and that 66 percent is deceptive. The younger the age cohort, the less white it is. Continually re-arranging schools’ enrollments for ethnic or socioeconomic balance is a losing proposition over the long haul.

Are there ways to boost learning with better prospects of success?

Schools have been—and still are—America’s great project in socialism. We permit no free-market dynamics in schooling. Schools are protected monopolies. Rigidity and inertia inevitably set in.

Perhaps this comfortable predictability, this sameness decade after decade, is a luxury (or folly, depending on one’s perspective) we can no longer afford.

Tom Shuford

Lenoir, N.C.

Events

Special Education Webinar Reading, Dyslexia, and Equity: Best Practices for Addressing a Threefold Challenge
Learn about proven strategies for instruction and intervention that support students with dyslexia.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Families & the Community Webinar
How Whole-Child Student Data Can Strengthen Family Connections
Learn how district leaders can use these actionable strategies to increase family engagement in their student’s education and boost their academic achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
The School to Workforce Gap: How Are Schools Setting Students Up For Life & Lifestyle Success?
Hear from education and business leaders on how schools are preparing students for their leap into the workforce.
Content provided by Find Your Grind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 2, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 19, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 28, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read