From Ferguson to Baltimore

Richard Rothstein is one of my favorites:

From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation

By Richard Rothstein

Thus began a century of federal, state, and local policies to quarantine Baltimore’s black population in isolated slums—policies that continue to the present day, as federal housing subsidy policies still disproportionately direct low-income black families to segregated neighborhoods and away from middle class suburbs…

View the rest of this post at Working Economics Blog

4 Responses

  1. I listened to several spokespersons on the federal response to the now highly visible segregation of communities by race and income in Baltimore. The jargon was thick and not encouraging…we will get a tookit together, we are on a listening tour, we have the Promise Neighborhood program, and Johns Hopkins, why can’t these corporations just build factories and service centers smack in the middle of these neighborhoods and produce jobs so people don’t have to travel so far.
    The Baltimore story is the story in almost every urban center. The festering boil needs to be lanced. Bankers, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, real estate agents and school boards have all red-lined neighborhoods for years. A recent study in Educational Research depicted the “migration” of district boundaries to garantee that students would be isolated in districts based on race on income. So where to begin? Some think education alone will provide the remedy. That is the premise of parental choice, the proliferation of charters, and so-called social impact bonds/portfolios . These are do-good programs funded up-front by investors who hope to do well financially by fronting the costs of social services, and saving “the government” money by imposing market discipline on the management of the program. The marketers produce dubious calculations of money saved if these sprogram succeed, and then write up contracts that garantee the social service is run to please the investors and produce a return on investment calulated by the “government money” that his been saved. This is another rotten “managers can fix this” scheme. The Obama administration supports it. It is gaining traction for pre-school programs in Utah and Chicago. Return on investment is calculated at about 5%. The calculation is based on the money saved by reducing the number of children placed into special education on entering Kindergarten and who would stay in such programs year after year for behavioral and other problems believed to be minor and remedied by the right preschools “interventions.” For an example of these calculations and the “economic value” of preschool (over $50,000 per year for 22 years) see

  2. Have you visited Maryland recently? There are a variety of african Americans living in some suburbs. But it’s certainly true that in some cities low income housing has been focused in cities.

    Rothstein is one of many apologists for district public schools. Lower expectations, he has written. His world view is one of the reasons that growing numbers of low income families are leaving district schools for charter public schools.

    • Are you saying that because some African Americans live in the suburbs is evidence of support for low income-housing in the suburbs? huh? All that tells me i some Africa Americans can afford to live in the suburbs.
      And having read Rothstein, I see nothing in his writing that supports low-expecations. He argues against the mis-use of data and the actual ingorace of the actual data, which you seem to interpret as having low expectations. In fact, it seems to be the opposite–the world view that public school can do no right, and are getting worse every moment is what drives people out of them and into the private sector, a claim that Rothstein argues is false. The world view hat they are falling apart some seem to think will help build support to get them more funding, but in fact, it has had the opposite effect, it has had the effect of encouraging the privatization and abandonment of public schools. Pubic school do need improvement, but false claims, good or bad, about them are not the way to achieve that goal.

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