by Dr. Terry Stoops
Former Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), a legal services and advocacy organization, recently published a critique of Sequoia Union (CA) High School District’s student assignment plan.
Public school students who live in East Palo Alto, a low income community, are bused across non?contiguous boundaries to distant high schools in the Sequoia Union High School District. LCCR believes that this is harmful to low-income and minority students from East Palo Alto. They conclude,
At a time when students’ educational achievement is both paramount and precarious, SUHSD’s [Sequoia Union High School District] assignment plan measurably impedes, rather than improves, the likelihood of EPA [East Palo Alto] students’ academic success. The plan undermines student achievement in numerous ways: the uncertainty and number of high schools receiving EPA students is not conducive to necessary middle and high school collaboration; removing students from the local community impairs parent involvement, curtails students’ ability to participate in extracurricular activities, and causes a sense of isolation amongst EPA students; and lastly, long bus rides adversely impact EPA students’ health, emotional well?being, and academic achievement.
Does this sound familiar? Those who argue that Wake County’s long-cherished practice of forced busing is harmful have been making similar points for years. But a group of civil rights lawyers in San Fransisco, not conservatives or Republicans, are the ones making the argument. That begs the question. Will Robert Greenwald accuse them of being segregationists? Should we expect The Colbert Report to air a segment on the issue?