Blog: Latino Ed Beat

School Choice in San Diego Leads to School Segregation

In one San Diego neighborhood, white families are choosing to send their children to private school rather than to the neighborhood elementary school. Latino families from other neighborhoods, in contrast, are going out of their way to choose that school for their children.

The result? Self segregation.

In a piece posted this week, the voiceofsandiego.org offers a fascinating look at the dynamics that have reshaped the school–and go against the theory that school choice will lead to more diversity within schools.

As reporter Emily Alpert notes: “If every public schooler in the neighborhood went to Jefferson, the school would almost mirror San Diego Unified as a whole — roughly half Latino, about a fourth white, a sixth African-American, the rest a mix of other races.” Instead, the school is mostly Latino and African-American, with most students qualifying for free lunch.

This piece is a follow-up to a story Alpert did earlier this year that examined how school choice has actually worsened segregation in San Diego.

Alpert’s reporting is a good example of staying on top of an issue by starting with an overview of a problem, then zooming in on individual facets. By looking at how one neighborhood–and the families there–are affected, Alpert is able to delve deeper into the questions she uncovered in her earlier reporting, humanize the issue and till ground for more stories.