So, having some first hand experience with white flight of a teenager from a selective school due to some of the reasons detailed by the author, I do object to calling it racism as such. My child just finished four years at a predominantly minority charter school called Basis- which is one of the highest achieving schools in the nation. As such, the two largest minorities are Chinese and Indian- which comprised about 50% of the school population. During the four years my child attended the school, he saw the students essentially wall themselves off into ethnic enclaves- persecute each other based on class distinctions that came straight from their parents, and pursue unhealthy levels of academic competition. I had to promise my child a “normal high school- with just honor classes and a chance to play sports” to finish out the last year at that hothouse.
This is not racism when the school social experience degenerates into brutal grinding for grades and AP placement test points. It is an academic experience that is foreign to the expectations of the average American. Creating an insane experience for children to replicate the foreign all or nothing testing career path of their highly educated parents is a primary goal of the school and the parents.
I just question whether it ultimately serves the children.
And to call it racism is pretty funny when the drive comes straight from the foreign born parents and it pushed right into their children from near day one. I used to threaten my child with spending summers in Kumon- and he knew in fifth grade what that meant. Which, in itself, is ridiculous.
I think the author might just be a little blind to what the children are fleeing. The parents enable that flight, but reality is the children may not enjoy the experience of being a minority in their own country, and confronted with Tiger mothers and their grinder children may choose what to them represents sanity.
When I attended the leadership camp at the end of fifth grade as one of the chaperones, one of the few problems we encountered was a horrible episode of bullying regarding caste- the Indian boy left the school after that last straw.
In short, great experience for my child to see what the smartest kids are like, but my child rejected the academic grind for a balanced traditional, and need I say it, American high school experience.