The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the tag “racial integration”

Education and Racial Integration in Webster Groves

I live in Webster Groves as does my daughter, son in law, and 2 grandsons. The school district in the last year has made a controversial decision about neighborhood schools, racial integration, etc. The district is overcrowded and in need of a new school. What they did was repurpose a computer school and sixth grade center as a new k-6 elementary school. The building is located in a predominantly black and lower income neighborhood. Previously those students had been disbursed among the other elementary schools which all had a relative degree of integration. With the new school, Givens Elementary, most of the black students in the district will attend one schools, resulting in a school with about a 30% poverty rate and resulting lower test scores. The other schools will no longer be integrated.

I don’t know how this jibes with Brown v. Board of Education decision and various civil rights statutes. On the other hand , the black community like all communities wanted a neighborhood schools. I don’t have a good answer but I know concentrating all the poor kids in one school is not a good idea. Written by Paul Dribin

The Big Idea

I am repeating an idea I have expressed in previous blogs because I believe it is so important. The idea is that low income people would be significantly better served by a guaranteed income rather than construction of affordable housing. I am writing this for the following reasons:

1. Too much of the money spent on affordable housing is siphoned off to third party people and does not directly benefit the low income resident.

2. Construction is just too hard to get right. Studies have shown that very little affordable housing is build outside areas of concentration of poverty. Research again shows that low income people concentrated in poverty stricken areas have much less chance to improve their lives.

3. Income supplements largely eliminate the stigma attached to affordable housing. People could rent where they liked, use funds for a downpayment on a house, or make the normal market choices that other people do.

4. Desegregation would be easier.

5. The program would benefit more people than a construction program.

6. The program would provide benefits to more landlords and developers. Why? Because if implemented on a full scale the funds generated would provide tremendous demand for an increased number of apartment units. Apartment developers could feel confident there units could be leased.

I have a couple qualifiers to go along with the positive points:

1. These funds should not discourage employment. I would see them as a supplement to low wage jobs and not a substitute for employment. Someone who worked would actually be better off.

2. There still need to be construction programs to target special needs populations-persons with disabilities,elderly, and homeless people.

3. There needs to be a strong mortgage program in place to support the increased housing development. The FHA multifamily programs are potentially excellent, they need to be streamlined and simplified.

I am not confident that my concept will be enacted any time soon. I do think it is one of those rare ideas that can unite progressives and conservatives.

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