Start With Schools

RECEIVED Mon., July 11, 2016

Dear Editor,
    More and more of my white friends are posting links and articles on social media condemning racism and racist institutions. Most white people feel somewhat helpless as to what they can do to support efforts for real equality – myself included. Besides writing letters to police chiefs and legislators, how does the average white person contribute in any meaningful way to the cause?
    One idea is to help desegregate Austin’s schools. My neighborhood in East Austin continues to get whiter and whiter, but the public schools don’t. Nearly every white family with school-aged children that I know sends their child to either a private or charter school. The few that do send their kids to public school almost never send them to the neighborhood school – opting instead for the whitest school they can get into. They never come out and say it, but schools get labeled good and bad; and the whiter schools always seem to be the “good” ones.
    Most of the schools on the Eastside suffer from under-enrollment. The schools with the most chronic under-enrollment are the blackest and brownest schools in the city, which adversely affects funding for those schools. Part of the problem is that the white people who are moving here won’t send their kids to the neighborhood school. I agree with most of the criticisms of the public school system, but when you choose to send your kid somewhere else, you’re really saying that the problems of the schools in your neighborhood are someone else’s problems. Not to mention that your child is missing the opportunity to form friendships with kids from different backgrounds.
    If you really think black lives matter, then this fall help integrate Austin’s schools and enroll your kid in your neighborhood school.
Wes Terrell
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