Recently, a federal judge allowed the community of Gardendale, Alabama to secede from the larger Jefferson County School District, a heavily black district beset by failing schools and budgetary trouble. Some have been disturbed by the fact that the Gardendale schools are 80 percent white, making the ruling a sort of official sanctioning of resegregation.
But the case raises serious questions about the state of the nation’s schools and the role desegregation has played in arriving at the current point. In city after city, desegregationist efforts, such as forced busing and district gerrymandering, have not only failed to more evenly integrate student bodies, they have caused the total withdrawal of whites from the public school system.
This has been seen from Detroit to Los Angeles. Heavy-handed government intervention to attempt to get the schools districts to integrate has left those same districts far worse-off than they ever were before the government efforts. In some cases, the school districts have effectively collapsed, as in the case of Detroit’s public schools. In that city, the public schools were among the best in the nation in 1960. By 2010, the school district was bankrupt and routinely posted some of the worst performance scores of anyplace in the United States, vying with some African countries for levels of scholastic failure.
To a lesser extent, this has been seen all across the country for the last 60 years. As government intervenes to get its desired social equality results, white families withdraw their children from the increasingly warlike schools, leaving them more segregated than when they started.