Monday, March 20, 2017
A new four-part series in the Baltimore Sun offers a sobering look at the politics of school integration. Nikole Hannah-Jones' work over the last couple of years has helped make school integration a topic of public conversation. This new work by Liz Bowie and Erica Green show how integration actually does or does not come about. It explores Baltimore County's recent efforts to redraw school attendance lines. The opening lines begin with Jeff Sanford, a father of two African-American boys in the schools who had volunteered to represent his local community in the process. He "went to the debate at the high school cafeteria with an open mind. The boundary lines for 11 schools in the Catonsville area had to be redrawn to relieve overcrowding. But there was a chance to achieve something more, something that could help improve the lives of all children: integration."
What he and the school district found was that although demographic maps showed a perfect opportunity to diversify some schools, old boundaries and biases were as deep as ever. Many saw integration as a zero sum game where some would win at others expense. This fear opened new wounds that made integration as tough as it was decades ago. An integration plan that would have reassigned 2100 students was voted down and eventually whittled down to one that would only reassign a couple hundred. Read the full story here.
As a follow-up to the debate, The Sun, Maryland Humanities Council and Loyola University of Maryland's Center for Innovation in Urban Education will be hosting a community dialogue about the path forward for school integration.
The forum will be held Wednesday, March 29 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. at Loyola University. For more information and to RSVP go to www.loyola.edu/join-us/bridging-divide.