Random Knowledge: How Segregated Are Urban American Schools?

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Bob Somerby is always going on about this, so I thought I’d show it to everyone in simple chart form. Among America’s 20 biggest urban public school districts, here are the percentage of students who are white:

Outside of Florida and North Carolina, there are virtually no big urban school districts that are more than 20 percent white. This is partly because white families long ago fled to the suburbs or because they send their kids to private schools in the city. Either way, the result is the same: the vast majority of the student body is black and Hispanic.

Why does this matter? Because it means that desegregation of our cities’ public schools is all but impossible. If you did a perfect job of desegregation in Los Angeles, each school would have 9 percent white kids. In a more likely scenario, a few schools would have a quarter or a third white kids, and the rest would have about 1-2 percent. There’s just no realistic way to make genuine, broad-based desegregation happen.

This is apropos of nothing in particular. It’s just a reminder that if we want to improve education for children of color, then we have to improve education for children of color. Full stop. As nice as desegregation would be, we have to accept the world the way it is and figure out how to do a good job with classrooms that are all but completely black, Hispanic, and Asian. So what’s the answer?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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