If you’re a suburban real-estate developer in the Rust Belt, you’ve made a lot of money from racism, and you and few of your banker friends are happy with the status quo. But there’s a lot more money for a lot more people in metropolitan regions where the schools integrate rich, middle-class, and poor. Grant points out over and over again that the true achievement of Raleigh and of the other metro-school metros is much more about integrating the social classes than it is about race.
That would be true in the Rust Belt, too, if metro schools became the norm. After all, the combined black and Hispanic populations of Erie County are only about 15 percent of the total. The County’s school-aged population is about 20 percent minority. How hard could it be to get 20 percent mixed in peacefully with the other 80 percent?
Concentrated poverty is the central problem that isolated, self-isolating Northern cities face. In Erie County, in the decades since the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court decision rendered by Nixon’s appointees in the 1974 Detroit school desegregation case, middle-class flight from Buffalo has been continuous. Ditto Monroe County, where Rochester earned the dubious distinction in a 2007 Brookings Institution study of having the worst concentrated poverty of any city in America. Ditto Cuyahoga County and Cleveland, Wayne County and Detroit, Onondaga County and Syracuse, and on and on.
Here's RustWire's write up: http://rustwire.com/2010/01/08/the-rust-belts-unfinished-business-of-school-desegregation/