Hume-Fogg and Pearl-Cohn high schools differ drastically in terms of their definitions of success, as a function of the distinctive student bodies that they serve. At Hume-Fogg, a predominately white school, every student is expected to attend and graduate from college, a non-negotiable fact that one student even pointed out as the singular weakness of the school (Hume-Fogg student, observation, September 20, 2016). The principal did mention high school gradu...
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...t career opportunities. It is no coincidence that the racial makeup of these schools corresponds with their outcomes. The desegregation that activists fought for in the post-Brown era has evolved into “resegregation of our schools and our communities in the twenty-first century” (Ogletree, 2004). In a city as racially diverse as Nashville, the color lines along which schools presently operate are shocking. While outcomes have vastly improved for black students, settling for success only in an alternative path is not the hallmark of complete equitability. Schools like Pearl-Cohn add immense value to the diversity of secondary school opportunities, but they should be seen as an equal option, not a last resort. Until every black student can succeed at a school like Hume-Fogg, if they so choose, race will continue to unfairly impact the education of the next generation.
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