Friday, July 20, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: For better or worse, Florida schools reflect segregated neighborhoods

Florida's public school enrollment grows more diverse by the day, and yet schools are increasingly more segregated. A recent study by the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University depicts a public school system where minority students are much more likely to be in a classroom that does not reflect the state's diversity. That's not healthy for the future of Florida or the students.

Some of this can be traced to population trends. In 1976, white children accounted for 70 percent of public school students in Florida. By 2014, white children were 40 percent. The portion of black children has decreased slightly (22.9 percent to 22.3 percent), but the Hispanic population has exploded. Hispanic children made up 6.5 percent of the public school system in Florida in 1976, but in 2014 they accounted for 30.9 percent of classroom seats, a nearly fivefold increase.

Despite this multicultural landscape, housing patterns and court rulings that put an end to the era of busing for desegregation have turned many schools into miniature versions of segregated neighborhoods. More than 700 schools in the state have student populations that are 90 percent or more minority.

A doubling of segregated schools in Florida

10.6% . 20.2 %

In 1994, roughly one out of every 10 public schools in Florida had a student population that was 90 percent or more nonwhite. By 2014, the percentage was 20.2, or one out of every five schools.

Hillsborough and Pinellas student population

NationalHillsboroughPinellas
White49.333.555.9
Black15.321.118.6
Hispanic25.935.216.4

Pinellas and Hillsborough are completely different districts when it comes to the makeup of schools. Pinellas schools have a greater portion of white students than the national average, while Hispanic children now outnumber white children in Hillsborough schools.

Portion of charter school enrollment that is white

Florida Pinellas

35.1% 68.2%

In Florida, just 35.1 percent of charter school students are white while 39.7 percent are Hispanic. That trend does not extend to Pinellas County, where the portion of students in charter schools who are white is nearly double the state average, at 68.2 percent.

Fewer all-white schools

18.4% . 41.0%

While many more schools are now almost exclusively filled with minorities, fewer schools are all-white. In 1994, only 18.4 percent of white students in Florida attended a multiracial school, which is defined by having at least 10 percent of three or more racial/ethnic groups. By 2014, 41 percent of white students attended multiracial schools.

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IRS making ‘dark money’ darker

Under a perverse interpretation of federal law, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to "social welfare" can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

Editorial: Scott should order investigation of concealed weapons permitting

To his credit, Gov. Rick Scott says he is considering requests to order an independent investigation of how Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office screens applications for concealed weapon permits. It’s a reasonable request, and the governor h...
Published: 07/18/18
Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

Editorial: Algae blooms, toll woes and beach battles -- Florida’s fouled up summer

July in Florida. The height of summer tourist season. Rental cars clog the highways and tourists crowd the beaches, motels and all-you-can-eat shrimp joints. Many of our neighbors are off to North Carolina or somewhere cooler. So it’s an awfully inco...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Editorial: Sacrificing two kayaks and a Toyota for free speech

Maggy Hurchalla joked this spring that all she could offer a billionaire who won a $4.4 million judgment against her after she exercised her free speech rights were "two kayaks and an aging Toyota.’’ The billionaire didn’t laugh. This week, Martin Co...
Published: 07/17/18
Updated: 07/18/18
Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

Editorial: Trump sides with Putin over America

In one of the most surreal news conferences of our time, President Donald Trump actually stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday and called the federal investigation into Russia’s meddling into the 2016 election "a disaster for our coun...
Published: 07/16/18
Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

Editorial: A vote for preserving waterfront parks by St. Petersburg City Council

The St. Petersburg City Council made the appropriate but difficult decision to reject a contract with renowned artist Janet Echelman for one of her aerial sculptures. It would be wonderful for the city to have one of her signature works, but Spa Beac...
Published: 07/13/18

‘Everybody needed to know what happened’

The brutal murder of Emmett Till, a black Chicago youth, in Mississippi nearly 63 years ago went unpunished, but not forgotten. A decision by his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, to allow an open casket at Emmett’s Chicago funeral represented an act of def...
Published: 07/13/18
Editorial: Modest progress toward paid family leave

Editorial: Modest progress toward paid family leave

Paid family leave promotes workforce participation and makes for healthier parents and babies, but a yearslong disagreement over how to structure and pay for a national policy has left the United States behind other nations in providing even minimal ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

Editorial: Personal bias taints Florida’s clemency system

A recent exchange between the governor and Cabinet and a felon seeking to have his civil rights restored underscores the arbitrary unfairness of Florida’s clemency system. A long waiting period, a ridiculous backlog of cases and elected officials who...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Trump should work with Congress on immigration

Donald Trump’s resounding victory in the 2016 presidential election came at least in part because the New York businessman grasped the disconnect between how millions of Americans and the political establishments of both parties felt about immigratio...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/13/18