traditional schools when it comes to agreements for school costrncontributed by developers, or other requirements generallyrnsought by city councils to benefit new communities. For thernfirst time, the local school district has a competitor for schoolrndevelopment in new communities, and that is good news.rnWlien marketplace principles touch a centrally planned system,rnexpect fireworks. Those who have learned to operate inrnand profit from the current system will not easily let go, norrnshould we expect them to, but we must guard against their attemptsrnto forestall this change. As the number of market-drivenrnschools expands and the challenge to the old system becomesrnreal, we expect the opposition to become more vicious and lessrnconcerned with fact.rnA perfect example of this is the claim that market reforms “resegregate”rnthe public schools. This accusation, which comesrnfrom several colleges of education across the countn,’, ignoresrnboth fact and reason. Anyone who understands public educationrnknows we segregate schools by neighborhood, and wherernattempts are made to force integration, we shamefully segregaternb expectation.rnI can think of few actions more cynical than the nationalrnpractice of enticing white students into largely minority’ campusesrnwith high expectation course work such as the internationalrnbaccalaureate curriculum or other rigorous offerings. Arnclose look at many “successfully integrated” campuses revealsrnthat, while the diversity of the student body may have increased,rnminorit’ students remain in consumer math while white studentsrnreceive a rich and challenging curriculum. Meanwhile,rnat a charter school down the street, the population is nearly allrnAfrican-American, but by parent choice. The school expectsrnstudents to achieve at high levels, and so they consistentlyrnoutscore the traditional public schools around them.rnI raise this issue as an example of why it matters that we focusrnon facts rather than inflammatory predictions and false claims.rnWe must continue to speak the truth about what is happeningrnto students in our schools, and not be cowed by those who speakrnin polysyllabic apology for a system unworthy of our children’srnfutures.rnCentrally planned systems are indifferent to mediocrity.rnPublic education falters because it is centrally planned. If werndo not acknowledge this fundamental flaw, we fall prey tornridiculous excuses: not enough money invested, too many brokenrnfamilies, poor education colleges, leftist/rightist political influences,rnand so on. While these may indeed be hurdles, theyrnare not the causes of the inferior system to which we cling.rnWe are moving into an educational marketplace. Thosernwho believe that there is “still time” to reform our centrallyrnplanned educational systems ignore the fact that while therernmay be time, there is no reason to do so.rnNothing improves without cause; no system immune tornconsumer response can sustain itself; and competition createsrninnovation. We have already lost too many children to ourrnnational hand-wringing. It is time to move on to somethingrnnew. crnSt. Malachy’srnby Lawrence DuganrnSoutheast of TemplernBut not a universihrnParish; old IrishrnA merchant marine,rnGone color-blindrnAt sea, I guess.rnWindows commemoraternFamilies as greenrnNow as the shamrockrnWho wouldn’t move.rnShe has, butrnlourneys backrnWindow over thernBaptistrv’. I’vernKnown one whiternTo the darkrnGlens of stained-rnGlass when thernWoman who livedrnIn this neighborhood.rnThe daughter ofrnArctic valleysrnOf office landrnBecome too cold.rnSEPTEMBER 1998/23rnrnrn