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Is integration really an answer?

"... hundreds of thousands of African-American and Hispanic children are getting a very limited education...." ("Segregation Forever," Urban Journal). How can that be, with teachers in Rochester being among the highest paid in the state and, probably, the country? What are they doing?

Oh, of course: The reason is poverty, as you proceed in the next paragraph to absolve schools, teachers, and principals. But why does the children's poverty, however defined, prevent teachers from applying their skills (which I presume they have)? Are parents not cooperative? Why would mixing these kids with kids from Brighton or Pittsford make parents more mindful of their kids' education?

"Standardized tests, tougher standards, public school choice, charter schools, longer school days.... By God, we'll prove that we can give children a good education without integrating the schools. And off we run after the latest trend." Trends, you call them? They are the time-honored means by which we instill good education, madam! Or do you subscribe to the soft bigotry of low expectations, that black and Hispanic kids are just too stupid?

I lay the worsening of graduation rates, test scores, poverty rate, and racial segregation, things that we should all bemoan, at the feet of the administration of these schools.

And where do you get the statistics? You mention School 23, whose student population is 34 percent white and 62 percent poor. There are only white and poor? None of the 34 percent whites are poor? And all of the 62 percent are blacks and Hispanics? No overlapping? I wonder what cracks the remaining 4 percent fell through. Gosh!

ITALO SAVELLA

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