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OPINION: From one white parent to another: Don’t pick schools because they’re selective and mostly white

Diverse schools are better for kids of all races, research shows; yet white affluent parents remain hesitant to choose such schools, even as they tout integration as a good idea

As someone who has researched school segregation and interviewed hundreds of white parents, I know that one of the biggest barriers to achieving meaningful integration in public education is how the most politically powerful parents in any school system — usually many of the white parents — come to understand what the “good” schools are and what is “best” for their children.

As a former public school parent and a white woman with a white son who performs well on the metrics that get students into the most selective public schools, I know the peer pressure that white parents feel to get their children into these high-status schools. I remember another white parent, when she learned that my son was not going to the most selective, predominantly white middle school in our district, looking at me in disbelief and saying, “I thought he had high tests scores?”

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