Rich San Francisco Suburb Finally Agrees to Desegregate School

Manhattan Charter School students watch the National Address to Students on Educational Success by U.S. President Barack Obama September 8, 2009 in New York City. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to students beforehand at a "My Education, My Future" event at the school. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty …
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Marin County area is famously rich, white, and liberal. In 2019, they might even end the economic segregation in their schools.

The Sausalito Marin City School District serves two distinct markets: Sausalito’s majority white, multimillion dollar waterfront homes contrasted against Marin City’s substantially poorer black community. On Friday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy was deprived in favor of a charter school nearby.

“Depriving a child of a fair chance to learn is wicked, it’s warped, it’s morally bankrupt, and it’s corrupt,” Becerra told the press. “Your skin color or ZIP code should not determine winners and losers.” According to reporting by the Associated Press, he called the plan the “first comprehensive effort to desegregate a California school in five decades.”

From 1964 until 2012, children from the district attended school together. But in 2013, the district established Bayside MLK. While it promised a high standard of education, the school received cuts to its classes, programs, and counselors soon after.

In the 2018-19 school year, Bayside MLK enrolled 119 children — a majority of which are African American or Latino. Meanwhile, nearby Willow Creek Academy’s majority white school has flourished, enrolling several times that number without the same financial obstacles.

Becerra’s initiative would appoint an independent party to “track the district’s progress, create a desegregation advisory group, establish a scholarship program and provide college and career guidance for students.”

University of California education professor Pedro Noguera sees a new challenge in the change — getting students from both communities to mix. “It’s good they called them out on this attempt to reinforce the inequity,” he said. “Now can they come up with a strategy to educate the kids together and provide them with a high quality education?”

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