School segregation news follow-up

By The News Jun 29, 2007

Here’s the NYTimes package on the upsetting Supreme Court decision yesterday challenging the historical Brown v. Board of Education. The Court ruled that the explicit use of race in assigning students to public schools to promote diversity is unconstitutional –that’s after reviewing two cases from two cities where school districts had developed race-based policies to desegregate schools. The Same Words, but Differing Views. What the Brown? All of the justices on both sides of yesterday’s 5-to-4 decision claimed to be, in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s phrase, “faithful to the heritage of Brown.” How the Programs Linked to Race Worked in 2 Cities. School officials say they’ll continue pursuing diversity. [In Louisville, Ky.] Governing student assignments from elementary school through high school, the plan required schools to maintain a minimum black enrollment of 15 percent and a maximum of 50 percent. According to the district, the racial guidelines made a difference in about 3 percent of the student assignments. About two-thirds of the district’s 97,000 students are white and one-third are black. Across U.S., a New Look at School Integration Efforts. Schools will have to be creative and subversively racial. Because it already suspended its race policy, Seattle will not be forced to scramble the way other school districts may have to in light of the ruling. When asked the practical impact of having the race policy struck down, Raj Manhas, the district superintendent, said, “In reality, none.” Mr. Manhas said the district already was taking steps to encourage racial diversity through other means, including placing highly sought after International Baccalaureate and dual-language programs in locations where they are likely to draw a diverse student body.