Everyone should watch John Oliver’s latest critique of school segregation. The video is above. He makes some fantastic observations, starting with his coverage of the way New York City put resegregation on steroids.

I would only add that much of the new segregation was intentional, funded by the Gates Foundation’s small-schools initiative. Like school reform in the rest of the nation, the sincere goal was to use increased segregation due to school choice to fight the educational legacy of segregation.

Sadly, many liberal families (who often oppose test-driven reform) have resisted recent efforts to reintegrate schools.

Much like the narcissistic parent Oliver includes in his piece — who launched a legal attack on a prominent and successful desegregation program in the South — even decent parents tend to be completely preoccupied with their own children’s very best interests.

Oliver’s comments on the progress that was achieved in Charlotte, North Carolina, were doubly striking because they were juxtaposed with President Ronald Reagan’s false claim that the effort failed.

Oliver cites just some of the huge body of research that shows how school integration, as flawed as it was, raised student performance more than any policy before or since. And, as he notes in regard to successful efforts in Louisville, Kentucky, we have learned how to avoid the mistakes made 45 years ago when desegregation was pushed in a hurried and sometimes heavy-handed manner. For instance, 90 percent of parents get their children into the school they choose first.

Charlotte, Memphis and other places (including the infamous Ferguson, Missouri) have abandoned promising as well as outstanding desegregation programs in order to take the corporate-reform shortcut. Moreover, since No Child Left Behind, charters and other choice programs have made racial and economic segregation much worse. As Paul Jargowsky, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University, found:

In 2011, 7 percent of poor Whites lived in high poverty neighborhoods, where more than 40 percent of the residents are poor, up from 4 percent in 2000; 15 percent of poor Hispanics lived in such high poverty neighborhoods in 2011, up from 14 percent in 2000; and a breathtaking 23 percent of poor Blacks lived in high poverty neighborhoods in 2011, up from 19 percent in 2000.

America needs to get our priorities straight, learn the lessons of history and follow the evidence-based recommendations of UCLA professor Gary Orfield, who concludes:

In a multiracial society we must redefine segregation and inequality in multiracial terms and devise multiracial remedies. Today, it is much more accurate to speak of segregation of the Black plus the Latino students in schools of intense poverty, isolated from real opportunities. Policy cannot be only about access to White institutions and it cannot be about assimilation. It must be about expanding opportunities in schools that are White, Asian and privileged for students who are often in Latino and Black schools of high poverty.

Oklahoma City should also reverse our half-century retreat from school integration. We are competing with other cities to attract and retain talented millennials, and we’ve had success with magnet schools.

Now, we could pilot “Choice Magnets” with the explicit goal of racial and socioeconomic integration. The area surrounding our booming downtown would be a great site for pilot programs. And, we all would benefit by turning the page on our worst post-World War II sin and announcing that we are “too busy to hate.” We could then update that 20th-century slogan and demonstrate that we have time to forge loving bonds with our neighbors of all races and classes.

— John Thompson

Things we saw (and heard)

Standing Rock and the militarized response to indigenous movements around the world — In These Times

Privacy issue may trump transparency of video recordings — Norman Transcript

Pruitt contemplates governor’s race — Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

Tronc crashes after banks pull Gannett acquisition financing — ZeroHedge

Facebook’s Trending algorithm can’t stop fake news, computer scientists say — BuzzFeed

My first virtual reality groping — Medium

Virtual assistants spend much of their time fending off sexual harassment — Quartz

Quotes to note

“Like whole thing is f–ing insane.”

— Hillary Clinton supporter and head of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden, in a July 2015 email regarding Clinton’s private email server, 10/27/16

“No one should be blamed for the spread of a virus that no one even knew about, and how the virus moved from the Caribbean to the US in New York City in the 1970s is an open question.”

— Dr. Michael Worobey, head of the ecology and evolutionary biology department at the University of Arizona, on the erroneous identification of a Patient 0 responsible for bringing AIDS to America, 10/25/16

“I couldn’t believe it when my name was announced. It is so meaningful to me to win the Golden Spurtle.”

— 87-year-old American Bob Moore, after winning World Porridge Making Championships in Scotland, 10/9/16

Vine Time


Bad Democracy

Bad democracy: GOP, Libertarian candidates fail to answer questions
by William W. Savage III


Donna Nelson, science adviser to Breaking Bad

Meet OU’s Donna Nelson, chemist and science adviser to Breaking Bad
by Heide Brandes


school grades

Ridiculous’ A-F school grades paint partial picture
by John Thompson