Whatever the original reasons for the creation of private schools in the Delta, the fact is that they remain today. In 1970, there may have been a knee-jerk reaction to the unknown as well as the Federal Government's mandating forced integration. It was a major change for both black and white citizens and neither group fully understood why it was being done.
The fact is that they remain today because they serve a purpose. Had forced integration of the public schools proved that there was no need for private and parochial schools, they would have died on the vine. Why would anyone want to spend thousands of dollars on their childrens education when they could get the same quality education via their tax dollars?
Public education has had 30+ years to prove their "equality". They have more federal and state funding, their teachers are paid significantly higher salaries than their counterparts in the private schools and yet they continue to miss the mark in ratings of quality.
Sure, "white-flight" created the private schools, but what sustains them today? Quality education... even at a higher price. Look at the enrollment of Washington School. It is comprised of numerous races, ethnicities, religions and lifestyles. The one thing these parents share in common is that they do not want to sacrifice their childrens' future with a substandard education... and are willing to pay "twice" for that security.
Public education in the Delta is in the mess that it is because we do not demand better. We have allowed our public schools to become "day care" and "free lunch programs" by those parents who do not value true education. At the end of the day, parents are responsible for their childrens education. Private schools will always thrive as long as public education continues to fail to meet our educational needs.
Our children's education is far too important for us to risk being "politically correct". The reality is that our public school system has failed us all, reagardless of race or relgion. The cost of a quality education is now the same for all. When will privte schools diminish... when we demand quality from our public educational systems.
PS: Great political debate! Thanks to all of you who have commented. Keep it up... we have many months to decide on our future!