Poverty and its related problems in concentrated form can infect schools, said Stephen Caldas, professor in education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Single-parent homes are associated with poverty because typically they're led by women, who tend to earn less income than men, Caldas
Children from single-parent families tend to have more discipline problems, Caldas
"When you pool children from those backgrounds, the problems are magnified creating a peer environment not conducive to academic performance," Caldas
"We know some things that school boards and districts have done that are counterproductive," Caldas
Caldas points to problems in Louisiana, where some school districts forced middle-class white parents to send their children to majority African-American and Hispanic schools.
"They either moved to other public school districts or, as in the case of south Louisiana, sent their children to Catholic schools and created nightmarish problems," Caldas
Since coercion doesn't always work and housing patterns are difficult to control, Caldas
suggests that the public concentrate on what it can control, such as quality of teachers, higher standards at universities to produce better teachers, and higher salaries for teachers working in minority schools.
Superintendent Hale, who has been an educator in Texas for 35 years, said busing isn't the solution.
"I think when you force someone to do something, regardless of what it is, it's very difficult to make it work," she