Wednesday, December 04, 2002

random thoughts - i was leafing through my sister-in-law anna's oakland high school yearbook--class of 1999--and confirmed what i already knew: out of 230 graduating seniors, there were only two white students in her class. one of them was an albanian muslim, so maybe the number was really just one. my understanding is that there are no white students left in oakland high school today, which is quite startling.

that's because our neighborhood happens to be pretty well intergated, although most of the white people live up the hill from us and the minorities (asian, black and hispanic) towards the bottom of the hill. we live right on the border of the racial divide, just 6 blocks away from the high school itself. now, this is supposed to be a progressive neighborhood, yet virtually all of the white families send their kids to predominantly white private schools while most of the minority children attend oakland public schools. strange as it seems, no one ever talks about the racial segegation that has developed in the school system.

i wish people would talk about improving the schools here, and why it is acceptable for the minority children to continue attending a public school system that was rated the worst in california. less that one-third of oakland public school students ever graduate from high school. white students are like the canary in a coal mine--when white students transfer out, then that is usually considered to be a bad sign (but not always). if somehow we end up staying in the area when russell starts school, i might just have to begin attending school board meetings and asking some tough questions.


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