query: school middle class flight

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sun Sep 17 09:58:11 CDT 2006

[ed:  thanks to Bonnie and Peter for responding to Mark's query.]

From: "Bonnie Bazata" <bbazata at saintmarys.edu>

A couple of thoughts come to mind.  One is the good work of Rev. Lucia
Guzman in Denver. She is on the school board and the director of Denver's
office of community development.  She worked with a school that had some
similar dynamics, only the area was being gentrified and the Latino parents
were not being listened to as white parents became more vocal and involved.
She helped start a bilingual Montessori program and worked to equalize the
participation and enrollement in the area.  You can read more about her with
contact info at:  http://board.dpsk12.org/members/lucia.shtml

Also, our community is working with the Bridges Out of Poverty model, which
parallels the Framework for Understanding Poverty work by Ruby Payne.  It
addresses class more than race, but clearly the two dynamics are
intertwined.  Their website is www.ahaprocess.com.

Best of luck,

Bonnie Bazata
Associate Director
Center for Women's InterCultural Leadership
#7 Havican Hall
Saint Marys College
Notre Dame, IN  46556
(574) 284-4058
fax: (574) 284-4141
bbazata at saintmarys.edu


From: "Peter Dreier" <dreier at oxy.edu>

In response to Mark Chupp's question...

Pasadena, CA, where I live and where my kids attend public school, has 
a similar situation. It is a racially and economically mixed city of about
130,000. The Pasadena Unified School District, which includes Pasadena,
Altadena and Sierra Madre, has steadily been losing students. White flight
of middle class students began in the 1970s in response to busing and
integration.  The exodus of low-income students began over the last 5 years
due to rising housing costs.  One-third of the students eligible for PUSD -
mostly middle class and disproportinately white students. -- attend private
schoool.  PUSD is now mostly Black and Latino, and 2/3 of the students are
eligible for subsidized meals. Skyrocketing housing costs are now pushing
out low income families from the three PUSD communities, exacerbating
declining enrollment. Enrollment is now about 22,000, down from a peak of
about 25,000. The school district shut down 4 schools last year as a 
To address these issues, the Pasadena Education Foundation (I serve on its
board) invited Richard Kahlenberg, an educational policy expert at the
Century Foundation, to conduct a study and recommend ways to improve the
public schools, raise the educational performance of low income students,
reduce the performance gap between low income and middle income students,
and between white students and students of color, and increase enrollment
(and thus help stabilize the district's awful fiscal situation).  Among
other things, he recommended creating a district wide system of specialized
magnet schools and promoting mixed income schools. The report didn't 
the housing side of the equation, and another group I'm working with is
trying to get the Mayor and City Council to recognize its responsibility 
the declining enrollment because of its housing and development policies,
and to put greater emphasis on protecting and expanding the supply of
affordable housing.  The Kahlenberg report is available on the PEF website:

Peter Dreier
Peter Dreier
E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Program
Occidental College
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone: (323) 259-2913
FAX: (323) 259-2734

> From: Mark Chupp <mark.chupp at case.edu>
> I am helping organize an effort to keep an elementary school open in a
> diverse first suburb of Cleveland. The board decided to close a school
> rather than confront the decline in enrollment across the district.  
> Over 75% of the students in the school district are African American
> while the city population remains over 50 percent white.
> Does anyone have examples or research to address middle class and white
> flight from public schools and/or how to better attract families with
> children to move to the community and attend public schools? There is a
> lot of fear, covert racism, and inaccurate publicity that contributes to
> the decline in enrollment.
> Mark Chupp
> begin:vcard
> fn:Mark Chupp
> n:Chupp;Mark
> org:Case Western Reserve University;Mandel School of Applied Social 
> Sciences
> adr;dom:;;10900 Euclid Avenue;Cleveland;OH;44106
> title:Visiting Assistant Professor
> tel;work:216-368-5157
> version:2.1
> end:vcard
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