Supreme Court: Don’t Use Race

From the Washington Post article “Divided Court Limits Use of Race by School Districts,” July 29.

“A divided Supreme Court yesterday restricted the ability of public school districts to use race to determine which schools students can attend, a decision that could sharply limit integration programs across the nation.

The nine justices split decisively along ideological grounds, with a five-justice majority ruling that school admission programs in Seattle and Louisville violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to individuals. Educators said the decision may lead many districts to drop efforts at racially balancing schools.”

How will it shake out?

“[Justice Anthony Kennedy’s] position — somewhere between the conservatives’ view that race may not be used to classify students and the liberals’ position that it is necessary to achieve integrated schools — made the impact of the ruling a bit more ambiguous, and again raised his importance as the court goes forward.”

Meanwhile, consider when school choice is exercised, not by buying a house in a particular neighborhood but by actually enrolling a student in a particular school that may or may not exist nearby, racial integration and interaction increases.

What about the plan in Wichita? Stay tuned:

The Wichita school district won’t do anything on integration until after meeting with the federal Office of Civil Rights in August, superintendent Winston Brooks said.

The Wichita school district’s current integration policy is similar to those considered by the high court in that it uses racial ratios, but it differs from Louisvillie and Seattle’s voluntary plans because it is based on a 1971 agreement with a federal agency.

“We’re status quo as far as the current plan we have,” Brooks said. “When we left the Office if Civil Rights meeting last year, they said we would not be allowed to make any changes unless we brought them a formal plan to do so.”

Wichita says ruling won’t change busing plan — for now, Wichita Eagle, June 30.

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