White Flight or Everybody Flight to better schools?


Max Brantley stated on the Arkansas Times Blog on March 7, 2011, “Charter school performance is more about demographic makeup of student bodies than educational strategies.”

I think the real reason that people want to move their children to better schools is that they care about their children. Many black people are upset at inner city schools and are doing just that. For years the Memphis City School officials have claimed they have been victims of white flight. However, it appears the last ten years they have been victims of “everybody flight.” Over and over we have had to listen to all the allegations of racism leveled at those who leave the city limits to take their kids to schools that perform better. Maybe it is not about demographics but about discipline and demanding more of the students? Take a look at this article from the Commercial Appeal:

City officials across DeSoto County on Friday were relishing 2010 Census figures that showed sharp population increases — and signaled economic and service opportunities.

And while the overall growth came as no surprise, analysts at the University of Mississippi said there was one myth-busting figure: “Black flight” was a large factor in countywide growth. African-Americans make up nearly half of DeSoto’s 54,000-person population increase from the last census.

In Hernando, which more than doubled from 6,838 in the 2000 tally to 14,090, city Planning Director Bob Barber said: “The figures aren’t unexpected, but when it all becomes official it takes things out of the realm of speculation.

“By going to 10,000-plus, we register on more radar screens of private investors and developers looking for that threshold. As to the public sector, there now are things that we will be eligible for as a city that we weren’t previously.”

Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson said, “We’re always looking for new opportunities” in grants and enhancements to boost services.”

Southaven soared 69 percent in population to 48,982, and is now Mississippi’s third-largest city after Jackson and Gulfport. Olive Branch grew from 21,054 to 33,484; Horn Lake from 14,099 to 16,066; and rural Walls surged from a 2005 estimate of 452 to 1,162.

As a whole, DeSoto County’s population rose 50 percent, adding more than 54,000 for a total population of 161,252. That moves DeSoto from fifth to the state’s third-largest county, jumping over Rankin and Katrina-battered Jackson counties, said Clifford Holley, interim director of the Center for Population Studies at Ole Miss. Hinds, site of Jackson, is still the largest county, with coastal Harrison second.

But what struck Holley as interesting was that while notions are popular of white outflow from Shelby County feeding DeSoto’s growth, the census figures show that of the 54,000-person growth, 23,050 are listed as black residents.

“In 2000 there were only about 12,000 black people in DeSoto; now the figure nearly triples to 35,266 of the total population,” said Holley. Much of the black share, he said, must come from shifts from Shelby and even within Mississippi — people looking for higher-paying jobs, better schools, a safer place to live.

That makes sense to Hernando Mayor Johnson.

“It’s incredible — the jobs, schools, medical facilities and infrastructure that are such a draw to everyone,” he said. DeSoto’s growth “is just due to high standards that have been set — and people realize that. Here in our city, we really didn’t plan all this growth, we just set out to make Hernando a great place to live.”




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