Wednesday Reading List: How White Families Integrate, College Fees, and an Interesting Interview with John King

Patrick Wall is in Mother Jones ,covering a new effort that organizes white families to pursue school integration:

In 2014, [Courtney] Mykytyn founded Integrated Schools, a grassroots organization that encourages white families to “deliberately and joyfully” take the first step toward making their local schools more racially and socioeconomically diverse. While organizations such as the Century Foundation and the National Coalition on School Diversity promote integration on the national level, Mykytyn’s group is focused on recruiting middle-class white parents—the very people who have historically resisted sending their kids to integrated schools. “We’re the ones who kind of made it all fail,” says Mykytyn, who has a doctorate in anthropology. “Really fixing it has to be on us.”

We should consider this organization's approach to local organizing in light of my interview with Josh Starr yesterday. Whereas integration and desegregation efforts in the second half of the 20th century relied on judicial remedies and policy, those efforts often lacked the significant political constituencies necessary to sustain the work. I'm hoping that contemporary efforts at racial integration take a "both/and" approach that incorporates both policy and intense organizing.

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In other news, James S. Murphy, writing in The Atlantic, examines a simple way to reduce college application costs:

The College Board and ACT cover the cost of sending scores to four institutions for any student as long as he designates the recipient colleges within nine and five days, respectively, of taking the exam. After that, the former charges students $12 per school, although College Board also covers the score-sending fees for an additional four schools for test-takers who took the SAT for free; these scores can be sent at any time ... Economists describe such fees as microbarriers, and they can overwhelm not just students but those trying to help them as well. Some organizations pick up the fees, often relying on limited resources.

Murphy talks to a range of experts and comes to the conclusion that allowing students to report their own scores is the simplest way to mitigate these fees. Predictably, The College Board and ACT don't want to see this happen, because they make lots of money on these fees. The article points out that the elimination of the fees would almost certainly lead to price increases for the tests themselves.

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Finally today, Alyson Klein of Education Week interviewed former United States Education Secretary John B. King. They talked about a range of issues, including the work of his successor administration:

King has some big concerns about some of the administration's recent moves when it comes to civil rights enforcement, which he sees as central to the department's mission. He specifically cited the administration's choice to rescind guidance allowing transgender kids to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. He also noted DeVos' comments that historically black colleges were pioneers of school choice. (DeVos later clarified those remarks). And he brought up changes her department has proposed to the agency's system for vetting civil rights complaints. "All of those things suggest that there's not a full commitment to civil rights protection," King said.  "And to me the question would be, what is she going to do ensure that students' civil rights are protected."

He also shares thoughts on DACA, the federal education law, and Advanced Placement testing for low-income students. Check out the whole thing, and have a great day!