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March 19, 2003

talking about desegregation

Our high school students interviewed a white graduate of largely African American public schools in Prince George's County (class of '98). It was interesting to compare her experience to that of the African Americans who first attended the County's all-White schools in the 50's. In short, she fared much, much better. She professed never to be uncomfortable because of race, although her friends were mostly among the other white students.

We asked our students to frame possible answers to the question: "What should have been done with the County's segregrated schools in 1954?" They come up with these options:

(I list the students' votes not because they necessarily represent the views of any larger population, but only to give a sense of the class's opinion.)

There could have been two kinds of "diversity" in the schools of 1954 when the County was about 11 percent African American. Some schools could have been predominanly Black and others predominantly white (diversity among schools); or all schools could have been 11 percent African American (diversity within schools). Our students, who are all kids of color, unanimously preferred the latter.

We also asked them about these value priorities:

*"quality of education" won hands down on the first ballot, so everyone had to vote for another choice.

March 19, 2003 3:24 PM | category: a high school civics class | Comments


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