Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Social segregation … in schools and crime …

  Yesterday I argued for a assigning some blame to social segregation in the mortgage-backed financial crisis.  Today, I relate two other stories from the American scene that highlight the role of social segregation, which is often fostered by our exclusive land use laws.  In a recent edition of the Atlantic Monthly, Any Waldman reported intelligently in popping popular narratives surrounding the “Jena Six” and racial politics in Louisiana; she reports on the racial gerrymandering that keeps most blacks in the area out of the city boundaries. 
   Another story, by Matt Miller, in the same issue argues that the leading federal education law, No Child Left Behind, has failed in large part by allowing individual states to set their own standards for achievement.  His proposed solution?  A uniform set of national standards, which would butt against both traditional conservative dislike of Washington-imposed solutions and liberal distrust of testing to assess educational quality.  But a national system would help in the battle for spending and other forms of equality in our socially segregated school systems.

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