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Few white parents supporting urban schools

Nov 6, 2012 by

Greg Toppo – A small but growing group of schools are actively seeking to fill seats with students of different backgrounds.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — As taped piano music plays, Ashley Brown issues a stream of commands. Firm and insistent, she strides around the tiny studio and puts her third-period ballet students through their steady, rhythmic paces.

What her eighth- and ninth-grade dancers may not notice is the larger ballet they’re part of: the fraught, decades-old dance — one step forward, two steps back — of who goes to school where, and with whom.

They’re doing nothing less than integrating a city.

Now in its fourth year, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is one of a small but growing group of schools that actively seeks to fill its seats with students from varied racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Researchers say schools like it are getting a boost from urban middle-class parents who are quietly saying “No” to the typical suburban exodus once their kids reach kindergarten.

“Many of them express a deep attachment to the city,” University of Pennsylvania sociologist Annette Lareau said. “They see the suburbs as sterile, as boring. They also see the suburbs as not a realistic preparation for their children for life.”

These parents increasingly push local schools to accommodate them, a development that Lareau says is “good for cities and good for America.”

Observers caution that the trend of white middle-class parents sticking with urban schools is still small and won’t soon reverse the USA’s decidedly mixed record on school integration since the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared “separate but equal” schools unconstitutional.

via Urban middle class boosts school diversity.

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