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Educational Delusions?Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair$
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Gary Orfield and Erica Frankenberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520274730

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520274730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

The Promise of Choice

The Promise of Choice

Berkeley’s Innovative Integration Plan

(p.69) 3 The Promise of Choice
Educational Delusions?

Erica Frankenberg

University of California Press

Now on its third major integration plan guiding student assignments, Berkeley, California, has maintained a commitment to diverse schools, even as legal options and political considerations around school integration have shifted and as the district’s population has changed to a multiracial one in which there is deep racial polarization of its neighborhoods, conditions that pose unique challenges for integration. Many other districts either let their desegregation standards in choice plans lapse or tried to substitute desegregation based only on socioeconomic status, which has typically not produced a high level of racial desegregation. By contrast, Berkeley invented a method that used a sophisticated analysis of neighborhood characteristics (including race) for student assignment, and they successfully defended this method in California’s courts. Berkeley’s experience suggests a possible route for combining choice and integration in many school districts. As the country grows more racially diverse and both racial and economic segregation continue to deepen, understanding Berkeley Unified School District’s student assignment plan will help communities that are transitioning from being primarily biracial to having three or more racial or ethnic groups.

Keywords:   Berkeley, integration policy, multiracial enrollment, residential segregation, Proposition 209, geography—based choice policy, planning area, controlled choice

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