In addition to New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue Elementary, the two schools on the western edge of town with too few white students, two schools on the far eastern and northern sides of town are flirting with imbalance of an opposite kind: having too few minority children... The imbalance was created by a steady increase in black and Hispanic residents on the western side of [Greenwich]...Once the state law is in place, complying with it takes precedence. Who knows what choices would be made without it? But the situation that Ponce likes, that is threatened with change to comply with state law, came into being while that state law was in force. We never get to see what would have happened without that law, which (in some form at least) dates back to the 1960s.
Susie Ponce, whose parents are from Colombia, moved to western Greenwich from Queens in 2007. She thinks Hamilton Avenue Elementary, which her two children attend, could have more white children, she said, but it has an array of nationalities.
“If I had a choice, I would keep my kids where they are right now,” said Ms. Ponce, who until recently was the school’s parent coordinator. “Because not only are they getting a great education, they are getting the social-emotional intelligence that I grew up with, just being exposed to other children from different cultures.”
It's easy to think: Why must we talk about "too few" white/nonwhite children? And: If "too few" has important meaning, what is the chance that meaning is well-expressed by a law that defines "too few" in terms of the racial balance happens to be in other places rather than any idea of the classroom benefits of diversity? The Connecticut statute attempts to control the effects of choices about where different people live — choices based in part on affluence and, in some unknown part, on race. It dictates a concept of "too few," and it does so intentionally to block people from thinking about "too few" in a deeper, more substantive way.
By the way, after following the George Zimmerman trial, it's interesting to see the NYT repeatedly and confidently write "Hispanic" as if everyone knows it's a race. The Hispanic woman Susie Ponce speaks of the need for "more white children," and we're not supposed to get confused and think: Aren't her children white? White Hispanic?