Sunday, July 27, 2008

Louisvilles Innovative School Plan (+ Raleigh)

Back in May I posted on Louisvilles innovative new school plan, on how the school district there was responding to a Supreme Court decision prohibiting school assignment based on race.

That post provides a synopsis of a race + class based integration plan, which is possible in Louisville as there is one countywide school system.

This plan, along with one for Raleigh, North Carolina, recieved an extensive write up in the New York Times magazine of July 20th. The focus was on Louisville, but the results of the Raleigh (Wake County) plan, which has been in place longer, seems encouraging.

Wake County adopted class-based integration with the hard-nosed goal of raising test scores. The strategy was simple: no poor schools, no bad schools. And indeed, the district has posted striking improvements in the test scores of black and low-income students: in 1995, only 40 percent of the black students in Wake County in the third through eighth grades scored at grade level in state reading tests; by last year, the rate had almost doubled, to 82.5 percent...

....Wake County’s numbers improve as students get older: 92 percent of all eighth graders read at or above grade level, including about 85 percent of black students and about 80 percent of low-income students....

....The district has achieved these results even as the share of low-income students over all has increased from about 30 percent a decade ago to about 40 percent today.

So it appears possible to improve scores (and perhaps education) via socio-economic integration. The article does make a point that it is important on how you do this integration, too.

Here is the article, which should be required reading for those interested in education policy:

The Next Kind of Integration

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