This paper will respond to and analyze the topics discussed by Diana Herrera, former student and teacher in the Edgewood Independent School District, Albert Kauffman, professor at St. Mary's University, and Brian Sparks, who is the network principal in the San Antonio Independent School District. Main basis of the panel was to discuss how even long after the Brown v. Board of Education state leaders still have not really used racial integration as a tool.
Racial integration is the first topic that is addressed because it is important for schools and students going forward. Albert Kauffman speaks of the importance of racial integration, especially in Texas, is of major importance because of the diversity that Texas has. I believe it is better because people are better when we are learning from each other. Which in turn will allow us to understand people better and be more comfortable around each other. It was brought up how districts in Texas are growing rapidly. Racial integration is a byproduct of other things as well. During the panel it was discussed how school segregation is also a byproduct of housing and where people are zoned. That is an interesting topic that I had never even considered. There have been times where African Americans have been criminally charged because they tried to provide a chance for better education by something called residency fraud. More specifically, Kelley Williams Bolar, who was sentenced for lying about her residency. I believe, especially in middle school and high school, that it is important to have more integration in schools. To give a fair opportunity to everyone and to build moving forward.
The topic of finances was also discussed. Better financed districts are in the predominantly white districts, and the districts that don't get much funding are in Hispanic and African American districts, which also ties into zoning districts. Poor funding is an issue that has been an issue for years. Brian Sparks brings up the point of master teachers counteracting lack of funding. He proposes that the highest paid teachers go to schools with the greatest need. He in a sense proposed that it would guarantee that everyone gets the same chance at advancement, since the students who need the most help with get the best teachers. A counterpoint to this, which was discussed during the panel, is that there have been many studies to suggest, for example, African Americans tend to learn better and essentially do better when taught by people who look more like them. It was revealed that most teachers in Texas districts are white. What role does the school play in this? It is up to the school and the districts to hire teachers that are diverse enough to teach and relate to every child. Integration would still be the issue but would be better because of teachers’ ability to relate.
An interesting point that was brought up was what happens when kids who don't have integrated experiences go to college, and what that experience could be potentially be like. I feel as though once in college everything changes. There is no way to make up for all that, but once in college, most kids tend to gravitate to they are more familiar with from high school.
I believe that integration from the beginning of middle school and high school would help all freshmen in college. I think that the nervousness that comes with being a freshman, while it would not completely go away, but would not be as big. Especially with increasing anxiety and people who really express emotions, it would be better to learn about integration from an early age. As expressed during the panel discussion, there is indeed justice in this that can be immeasurable.
Throughout the panel there were great points made and there really is an importance in integration. Everyone needs to work harder to make it more commonplace and something that could actually be reached.