Monday, June 11, 2007

White Flight

In Lafayette, a neighboring community, white flight has really changed the demographics of the local schools. We originally settled in Lafayette when we relocated to Colorado because the houses were bigger and the rents were lower. I loved it there. It was a family-friendly, suburban nabe and it still is, but it is has sort of become the Colorado poster child for immigration.

Over the years, the Mexican population has increased while the Caucasian population has markedly decreased. The city has struggled to retain its middle class roots, embracing new development and adopting a plan of aggressive gentrification. It hasn't completely stemmed the flow of whites out of the city, though, so the Boulder Valley school board has limited the enrollment of Lafayette children into neighboring schools in an effort to "force" whites to stay in their home schools. The fallout has been huge. "For Sale" and "For Rent" signs have sprung up in nearly every middle-to-upper class Lafayette neighborhood and home prices have stagnated.

My friends who live in Lafayette refuse to talk about white flight. They couch their decision to leave their schools in terms like "freedom of choice" and "opportunity." They denounce bi-lingual education in their own schools but applaud it in other more "racially balanced" schools. Hypocrites! I think but do not say. How is a school that is 98% Hispanic any worse than a school that is 98% Caucasian? Is it because suddenly Caucasian children are thrust into the position of the minority and that's something with which their parents are not comfortable? But, I ask you, isn't it better for our children to learn Spanish from native speakers? To me, there is really is no difference which racial group is dominant, but maybe it's easier for me to dismiss racial differences because my children will never attend a school composed entirely of children who look like them.

2 comments:

PT-LawMom said...

Amen.

Sandy said...

Have I mentioned that I'm really really glad I found you?! Just checking.

My family and I have recently moved from GA to OH and have noticed that the school districts here are the much similar to what you are posting. The families that you are speaking of remind me so much of the people that live in a neighborhood only 10 minutes from mine. I have noticed that Cincinnati does not embrace change. I want a good education for ALL children and I refuse to fund a certain area because it has predominately "whatever" race is trendy at the moment.

I’ve also noticed that the funding for schools here is very different than that of Georgia. Ohio could stand to take notes. But, that’s just my little ole southern opinion!

Great post!