Will Tuscaloosa City Schools Closure/Redistricting Plan Produce Educational Inequality?
In recent years, inner-city school district have worked to balance budgets despite cuts in funding and unpredictable enrollment. I concede that the process of changing school boundaries, closing/consolidating schools can perhaps address budget and enrollment problems; it can also disproportionally affect disadvantaged students and families.
In a research study partially supported by the Center for Poverty Research it was found that redistricting can increase educational inequality, increase segregation within schools and seriously affect disadvantaged students and the communities where they live.
There are some very important concepts that must be considered. They are as follows: 1. Within the context of the study, disadvantaged parents, schools and neighborhoods faced higher financial and opportunity costs after school redistricting, 2. Districts can perhaps solve utilization issues by attracting middle-class families who are open to inner-city schools, 3. It is important that district officials work honestly to ensure that minority and low income students, families, communities and schools do not bear the brunt of redistricting outcomes.
As the Tuscaloosa City School district prepares to redistrict/and or close schools, I certainly hope that serious consideration will be given to the fact that despite changing demographics in gentrifying communities and the positive results associated with diversity, schools still remain largely segregated.
Redistricting and Closure will impact black and lower-income students, families, and communities. Students from the schools will be sent to schools either far away from their homes, less diverse or even worse, lower performing.