My new column today discusses why the public school choice movement must embrace the rights of urban kids to transfer into high-performing suburban schools. Unfortunately, in many communities the tide is shifting away from the socioeconomic integration of suburban schools, not toward it. Here is a particularly egregious story out of California: In the uber-affluent districts of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica-Malibu, the public schools are admitting out-of-district students who are children of alumni. In exchange, the kids' parents or grandparents sometimes give generous donations. Yep — these are legacy preferences.
Beverly Hills High does host a program in which high-achieving, non-white Los Angeles students are allowed to attend the school with a "diversity permit." Education research shows, though, that early intervention is key for low-income children. These districts suffer no paucity of funding. If they are going to open their elementary school doors to outsiders, why not reach out to the neediest children instead of the most privileged? I guess the answer to that is that the folks running these systems simply are not motivated by social consciousness.
Hat tip: Alexander Russo, who calls these policies "gross." Indeed.
cross-posted at TAPPED