March 5, 2008

Breaking News: Busing Still Doesn't Work

We learned in the 70s that busing low-SES kids to high-SES suburban districts didn't work.

Minneapolis just re-learned that fact.

For the second straight year, low-income students in the Minneapolis Public Schools fared better than the ones who were bused to suburban schools under the Choice is Yours, a voluntary desegregation program.

I guess they thought they had some new magic school buses. Or maybe the magic aura or the suburban kids grew stronger.

"We're just saying if the number one reason parents sent their kids to suburban schools was academics, they need to look closely and carefully at the results," said Dave Heistad, the district's research and testing director. "Just choice by itself doesn't seem to be the answer."

That's a false choice. The choice is between attending a city school where low-SES students fare poorly or a suburban school district where they also perform poorly.

"This illustrates what we have always suspected," said Minneapolis Superintendent Bill Green. "Whatever frustration people have felt about the Minneapolis schools is based on a sense that we have so much potential and we haven't been able to mine it.

"This data shows that kids don't have to go far away from home to get a quality education," Green said.

Quality education my ass. In the Minneapolis School District, proficiency levels of low-SES students are 56.3 and 39.1 in reading and math respectively.

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