HEAT is upset because in their mind, the Wake County School Board is enforcing socioeconomic segregation. What one believes about the board’s decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. Is it worth it to bus kids farther for the sake of socioeconomic diversity in the classroom? HEAT says yes, the board said no.
On its surface, the problem seems intractable. What do we do with people who simply have different values?
This problem is solved every day in a thousand ways in other areas of life. The fact that all my neighbors prefer Fuji apples does not prevent me from buying Red Delicious apples. The key is individual choice.
So instead of asking “which school am I forced to send my child to”, maybe we should be asking “why are they forcing my child to go to a particular school”. All of a sudden, the school board’s diversity policy becomes irrelevant to either side because they aren’t in control of who goes where.
So returning to the question, “is it worth it to bus kids farther for the sake of socioeconomic diversity”, the answer is simply that there’s no way we can know if it’s worth it to people as long as kids are predestined before the foundation of their education to attend a particular school.
One-size-fits-all solutions always have their discontents – in this case HEAT. School choice also has an illustrious statistical record both in terms of scores and cost-efficiency. So let’s take this opportunity not to shill for or rail against socioeconomic diversity as such, but to bring the idea of school choice to the forefront.