Monday, July 28, 2008

Integration by Socio-Economic Class

Integration Joanne Jacobs points to a New York Times Magazine piece talking about the new integration movement in schools, integration by socio-economic class. Jacobs brings together comments from both proponents and skeptics.

So my question is also pretty basic, what kind of mix is appropriate? Is it 1/3 rich kids, 1/3 middle class kids, 1/3 poor kids? Is there some other options? How do we determine socio-economic status? Is it by where people live? What about the fact that neighborhoods change over time? What about the current problem of people living in homes they can't really afford? What other factors will become "shorthand" for socio-economic status--neighborhood, what car your parents drive, how you dress, what?

From a practical standpoint this is hard in comparison to simple racial integration. With race, you can more or less see in the appearance of a child. But you can't tell socio-economic status by looking at a kid. So we will take the short cut and probably use where a student lives as a sign of class.

How is this helping anyone? Should we take whatever steps are necessary and devote the proper resources to helping those who need help rather than attempting to solve every problem by "integrating" kids into a classroom that some researcher thinks will provide educational benefits?

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