A little while back I was getting very excited about racial and economic integration plans as a way to improve school performance. Evidence suggests that kids do better in integrated schools, and a lot of cities have come up with clever schemes to ensure a reasonable degree of integration. The trouble, as Sara explained to me, is that given the actual patterns of residency in the United States an extremely large proportion of poor and minority students live in places where you couldn't possibly make this work. As Kevin Drum says today "No amount of busing, magnet schools, charter schools, carrots, sticks, or anything else will reduce the number of low-income students in each school below 40% when the entire school district is 80% low-income."
Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.