I am from Nashville TN. I think I am one of the few people who is actually originally from here. People I meet are always surprised to hear that I was actually born in Nashville and not a transplant. I went to high school at Hillwood High, and so did my mom and dad. My mom has told me stories about her junior year of high school when Hillwood desegregated and African-American kids started attending school there. When I went to school there, there was racial tension sometimes, and a lot of fights (usually not racially motivated). Hillwood is in the center of a few suburbs in Nashville- Belle Meade (average household income about $200,000), and West Meade (upper middle class suburb) and Bellevue (upper/middle to middle class families). All three of these areas are almost all Caucasian and fairly homogeneous.
Hillwood buses kids, though, from North Nashville, which is a historic area for African Americans in Nashville. North Nashville is almost entirely black. Historic Jefferson Street along with Fisk University and Tennessee State University are all located in North Nashville. North Nashville is also has one of the worst reputations for crime and gang activity. Much of it coming out of a Public Housing known as Dodge City (where rapper Young Buck claims as his roots).
I have an affinity and special relationship with the community of North Nashville. My family heritage is rooted in that particular community. My grandfather is originally from the neighborhood and had a restaurant which later turned into a hardware store on Buchanan Street that has served the neighborhood since the early 1950's. My dad is still in the neighborhood.
Our public school system in Davidson County is rezoning our school system in order for students to be able to attend the schools that are in their own neighborhood. So in essence the kids from North Nashville who have been bussed to Hillwood since the 1970's will be attending schools in their own neighborhood. Many will be able to walk to school for the first time ever.
I like the idea of kids staying in their own neighborhoods, where parents can feel like they are a part of their child's education school community. But I am also scared by this move. I am afraid that embedded racism and prejudice from people in our county is what is motivating this move to neighborhood schools.
According to an article in the Nashville Post:
The most contested portion of the plan recommends that students no longer be
bused from low-income MetroCenter neighborhoods to Bellevue’s more affluent
Hillwood cluster. Students in those neighborhoods are considered residents of
“choice zones” and can choose whether to attend school close to home or at
Opponents of the rezoning plan have called this a "re-segregation" plan. And using the families who make up the Hillwood cluster it wouldn't be too hard to see why people might view it this way. I personally like the idea of neighborhood schools, but I also know that its important for children to all have equal access to resources and to be in relationships with other kids who are different from them.
What I would propose is reverse school zoning- to send half of the kids from neighborhoods like Belle Meade to inner city schools and then vice versa. Now that sounds fair to me.