I had a good public school education. I have a good job with excellent benefits. I want everyone to have at least the same opportunities that I have had.
The way to provide these opportunities is to use my example as a case in point:
I lived in the "right" neighborhood. Our neighborhood school district was predominantly white with a few of Asian or Hispanic background. There were almost no blacks.
Most black people could not afford to live in my neighborhood. So they lived in the next school district over.
My school district was adequately funded. I knew this because the schools I went to were in good repair, the playgrounds and playing fields were well-kept and we had good arts programs.
These are usually among the first things to go if funds are not there, as anyone who has seen the movie Mr. Holland's Opus could attest.
What about our neighbors?
One of their schools had to come to our school to run cross-country meets because they did not have a course. They also had to cancel other events.
There was also a difference in campus activities. My school had a few known drug dealers, a student or two who threatened violence (with knives) and other miscreants. But, by and large, few reasonably felt afraid to walk into the schools that I attended.
One neighboring school's homecoming queen was allegedly shot because of her skin color. Rumors of violence associated with this and other schools in their district abounded. Teachers and athletic coaches, not surprisingly, came and went quickly.
Occasionally, our teachers would ask us whether we thought school busing was a good idea. Some of my classmates would say, "I am not prejudiced, but"" Others would cite difficulties other parts of the nation had when they made it mandatory.
I would sit there silently, contemplating a way to fix this situation and give everyone the opportunities that I was getting. Years later, I have an idea:
Don't move the students. Move the teachers!
Ignore the distinctions in school districts and make some of the teachers in the districts with the highest-achieving students move to an area where students do poorly. That way, all students of all backgrounds in a geographic area, not a gerrymandered-school district, will benefit from their talents.
The hope that students in the districts like the one neighboring ours will rise when they realize proven quality teachers will replace the ones who leave quickly out of frustration. They will be more likely to take school seriously and not to misbehave on campus.
Most important of all, they will graduate from schools with better reputations and thus increase their chances of going to a top college. Opportunities will be there for the best students to get jobs that allow them to live where they want to live.