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Desegregation Can Work. But It Didn't. But It Can.

Following up on yesterday's post about the failures of residential desegregation in places like Memphis, deseg expert Rick Kahlenberg sent in something he'd written that argues the real reason that Moving To Opportunity didn't result in greater academic gains for low income kids is that:

Workishell"there were major flaws in the structure of the program, which meant that most poor families didn’t move to opportunity but in essence, moved to mediocrity. Students in the opportunity program attended schools with a free and reduced price lunch mean of 67.5 percent, compared to 73.9 percent in the control group. And students in the experiment attended schools with an average achievement at the nineteenth percentile, compared to the fifteenth percentile for the control group. Clearly, this was not a fair test of whether genuine poverty deconcentration can affect the achievement of students."

It may not have been a fair test, but it was a real-world one.  I'd love for deseg to work, and realize that much of what happened under the umbrella of residential deseg wasn't as it was intended.  What I don't see is any realistic way from preventing future efforts to have the same sloppy, imperfect design and implementation. 


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