Resegregating Nashville Schools

Anyone who lives in Nashville can tell you that it’s still a pretty segregated city.  I wouldn’t say that it’s segregated with the same kind of brutality as northern cities.  For all our talk of bad neighborhoods that white people don’t go into, I’ve never met a black person in Nashville for whom I’m the first white person they’ve ever talked to in real life, whereas I have had the weird occassion to be that for a couple of black folks from Chicago.

On the other hand, driving around looking at houses really brings it home for you how we all here in Nashville live in quite a few cities nestled in among each other.

I firmly believe that kids should go to school in or near their own neighborhoods, unless their parents choose otherwise.  It matters that kids can walk to school or take a short bus ride.  It matters that a parent can work near where their kids go to school, so that, when there’s trouble or things to be celebrated, parents can get there.

But it also matters that neighborhoods are not very economically or racially diverse in this city and that, if you put kids in their neighborhood schools, we will be, in fact, resegregating the school system and relegating the poorest students in the most troubled neighborhoods to the Pearl-Cohn cluster (meaning Pearl-Cohn High School and all the schools that feed into it, I believe).

I don’t know what the answer to that is.

But it worries me.

3 thoughts on “Resegregating Nashville Schools

  1. I’m not a supporter of “de-segregating schools.” I’ve seen firsthand what kind of destruction it causes. There should never be a reason why a child has to get up at the crack of dawn and ride across the city to go to school. De-segregate neighborhoods and the schools will follow.

    That said, the re-zoning plan looks like a complete nightmare. And in all selfishness, I don’t like it. Whereas I’m now zoned for what appears to be “whiter” schools, these schools are, in my opinion not as good and certainly not as convenient as the schools I was zoned for before. The zoning lines make no sense to me. And I can clearly see a line drawn in Sylvan Park between the “haves” and the “have-nots” rather than a line being drawn based on proximity. Whoever came up with this proposal needs to lay off the crack.

  2. I am not familiar with the scenario in Nashville, but I live in a good sized suburb of Detroit that is wresting with this issue right now. My town is has some degree of spatial segregation by race and a large degree of spatial segregation by income. Furthermore, familes from Detroit, sick of the poor performing school system there, are moving into the area in significant enough numbers to cause concern among certain people. I know at the high school level, the incoming students from the city are less prepared for the district’s high school curriculum (which, I might add, is largely mandated by the state of Michigan).

    Currently, the students are mixed up as they go from level to level ie not all kids from one elementary school go to the same middle school. There is talk of reinstituting “feeder schools” and given the the spatial segregation of the “haves” and the “have nots” in this town, the plan gives me very uneasy feelings. I worry that under that plan, the upper middle class kids will all go to the same schools and the less privileged students will be stuck with lesser educational opportunities due to the concentration of academic and social need in other feeder school tracks.

    An aside: the leadership in this town are all so-called “liberals.” I’d think that they would want to ensure access for all. I suspect I am wrong.

  3. Pingback: Proposed Metro Nashville Public School Changes « live. laugh. love.

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