The political and social system that
exists in the US is based on economic exploitation and nourished by 'racism.'
racism (noun): a belief that some races
are by nature superior to others; also: discrimination based on such belief - The Merriam Webster Dictionary, 1994 edition
in average income & educational attainment between whites and people of color in Minneapolis, and elsewhere in the US
are related to policies and practices that tend to limit access of people of color to education, jobs, housing, etc.,
in my opinion.
THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT
Descendants of African slaves were recognized as citizens, with full
civil rights in 1868, were stripped of their civil rights in the 1890s and early 20th century, and regained their civil rights
in the 1960s.
Institutionalized racism hasn't gone away since the 1960s. The Democratic and Republican parties
put some teeth into fair employment and housing laws that had been on the books since the 1940s, but have not aggressively
enforced those laws. Many employers have followed a strategy of minimal compliance with "affirmative action" guidelines. Members
of protected classes (e.g., African Americans) are hired in sufficient quantities to avoid sanctions for racial discrimination,
referred to a "quotas." The hiring "quota" for protected classes is much less than the percentage of qualified applicants
who self-identify as members of protected classes.
In Minneapolis, very little progress has been made in ending racial
segregation since the 1960s. Illegal race discrimination was found to be very widespread in HUD's housing market survey in
2000 (which is done in conjunction with the US census). The African American population is heavily concentrated mosty-black
RACIALLY SEGREGATED SCHOOLS
In 2004, 23 schools in the Minneapolis School District were classified
as "racially identifiable" per Minnesota's Desegregation Rule. A racially identifiable school is a school where the percentage
of students of color is 20% above the district-wide average in grade levels served.
Minnesota's Desegregation Rule
allows the Minneapolis School District to maintain racially identifiable schools so long as the educational inputs, such as
measurable differences in teacher expertise, teacher turnover rates, etc., are comparable to schools that are not racially
The Minneapolis School District came up with a strategic plan in 1995 outlined in a resolution entitled
"Eliminating the Gap: Ensuring that all children can learn." Also known as the Community School Plan, this plan was expected
to close racial learning gaps by increasing parent involvement and equalizing educational inputs. The idea was that if students
attended schools closer to home, parents could be more involved with their children's education, and that bussing students
to achieve 'racial balance' in the schools was an obstacle to parent involvement that had a greater negative impact on students
of color than whites. And the money saved on transportation could be applied to upgrading the quality of education in schools
where students of color are over-represented.
In 1996 The Minnesota Department of Education gave the Minneapolis School
District a waiver that allowed it to implement the Community School Plan. The plan, which district officials acknowledged
would make the schools more segregated, was a clear violation of the Desegregation Rule then in force, which stipulated that
the percentage of students of color in a school be no more than 15% above the district wide average in grade levels served.
The Minneapolis City Council backed the plan and promised to take action to desegregate Minneapolis neighborhoods.
Minnesota legislature approved a new Desegregation Rule in 1999 which allowed a School District to have racially identifiable
schools so long as the educational inputs in those schools are comparable to schools that are not racially identifiable. Otherwise
it is unlawful for a district to maintain any racially identifiable schools and school programs.
The Minneapolis School
District is not in compliance with the Minnesota Desegregation Rule. Nor has the commissioner of the MN Department of Education
attempted to compel the Minneapolis School District to fully comply with the Rule. There are huge differences, on average,
in educational inputs between racially identifiable schools and schools that are not racially identifiable. And there has
never been a plan with measurable goals and timetables to eliminate that educational input gap.