Divided by Design: Race, Neighborhoods, Wealth and Schools

Have You Heard sits down with Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. It’s a ground-breaking, mind-changing book, and you should read it, but in the meantime, we’ve helpfully distilled Rothstein’s 10 years of work down to 30+ minutes. He blows up the myth that our segregated cities and neighborhoods—and by extension our schools—are the product of millions of private choices. The legacy of the segregation created by federal housing policy remains with us today in the form of a stark racial wealth gap and what Rothstein describes as a “caste system.” And he has little patience for arguments that school choice is the solution to cities and neighborhoods segregated by design. “We’re not going to solve this problem by choosing schools were going to solve this problem by enforcing the neighborhood school concept in integrated neighborhoods.” Full transcript here.

Rephormy Little Liars

What Joel Klein’s “life story” tells us about about Education Reform, Inc.

Low Expectations High School, which Joel Klein attended. Physics teacher Sidney Harris rescued Klein from near certain mediocrity and launched him on his life-long crusade—against teachers.

So Joel Klein’s father was not an illiterate turd farmer who once tore up the pages of young Joel’s only book and smoked them in his corn cob pipe—what’s the big deal??? When you are literally trying to close the achievement gap with your own bare hands, facts have a tendency to stray. The important thing is that Mr. Sidney Harris, the teacher whom Joel Klein credits with rescuing him from a low-expectations hell, inspired Klein to launch his life-long crusade against teachers.

If you’ve missed the latest scandal to rock the hallways of Education Reform, Inc, allow me to break it down for you. It turns out that Klein wasn’t adopted by African American sharecroppers, and that little flourish he throws in on the edu-stump about having dyslexia and being locked in the closet at school only to be freed by a sassy barkeep, midriff barely covered by her parent-trooper t-shirt? That’s fiction too. But the ending, where Klein is hired by Rupert Murdoch, to peddle edu-products to the public schools while playing the part of a high-minded innovator, that alas is all too true. Continue reading →