Conservatives vs. school choice

school bus photo

We're for choice, but busing goes too far?
(Photo by Kevin)

In the 1970s, after seeing an exodus of white families to the suburbs, Detroit leaders attempted to instate
a forced-integration busing policy, transporting black inner city youth to
largely white suburban schools—and vice versa. The intended policy shift
quickly made its way to the courts, finally landing with the U.S. Supreme Court. In the High Court’s
5-4 Milliken v. Bradley decision, justices ruled against the Detroit busing strategy. Thirty-seven years later,
Wolverine State governor Rick Snyder has proposed a new escape valve for
Detroit children trapped in lousy, and segregated, public schools: He would
mandate open-enrollment school choice, in effect making district boundaries
obsolete. In a scathing op-ed in the Detroit
, former Wayne County chief of staff Bill Johnson, called on Snyder to
arrest his “social-engineering experiment,” arguing that the residents of Wayne
County (an affluent area to which many Motown children are likely to flee)
shouldn’t be responsible for “inner city students who are apt to bring a lot of
baggage and few socialization skills to suburban school environments.” Ugly
words—though Johnson is probably just giving voice to the (quasi-racist)
sentiments of many of his fellow suburbanites (and not just in Michigan). So
conservatives: Are we in favor of giving kids options, or not?

erect a wall against a conservation governor
,” by Adam Emerson, ReDefinED, September 7, 2011.

local school choice
,” by Bill Johnson, Detroit
, September 7, 2011.