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Supreme Court to Rule on Assigning Schools Based on Race of Student December 4, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Black, Blacks, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, Discrimination, Race, Racism, racism and discrimination, Racist, Supreme Court, White, Whites.

WASHINGTON — Kathleen Brose is a Seattle parent whose daughter was denied a seat at the local high school in 2000 because she is white. Former teacher Pat Todd is in charge of deciding where students in Louisville, Ky., attend public school, using race as one of several criteria.
Todd and Brose are at the center of a school desegregation debate set for Monday morning before the U.S. Supreme Court that could affect what rules districts may use to keep schools integrated. Parents of white students in both districts are suing to overturn racially driven student assignment systems they say illegally force children to enroll in public schools they don’t want to attend simply because of skin color.
With fewer school systems under court-ordered desegregation, some have adopted looser rules that allow parents some freedom to choose schools as long as there’s enough room and racial balance is met. The justices’ ruling, expected this spring, will shape what local governments can do to ensure integration more than half a century after the watershed Brown v. Board of Education case.
“If the court rules (against both plans), it will be a reversal of historic proportions,” said Theodore Shaw, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Both sides are using the legacy of the Brown case to buttress their arguments.
Supporters of the Louisville and Seattle plans say the 1954 ruling was supposed to end racial isolation by outlawing the “separate but equal” standard. Opponents, including the Bush administration, say Brown sought to make sure no child is discriminated against because of race.

Brose said her daughter applied to attend the high school nearest to her home, not only because of its proximity, but because it had an orchestra program. Instead, the district assigned her to a high school twice as far away without an orchestra program or any of her middle school friends.

“The school district didn’t look at her academic or social needs,” Brose said. “It was all based on race.”

Todd thinks Louisville’s system of student assignment is legally defensible because it’s based on factors besides race: parental choice, student needs, a building’s capacity and a child’s address.

The result is a system of racially balanced schools (from 15 percent to 50 percent black) that has broad community support. Todd said integration has boosted student achievement.

“The best education for our children is in racially diverse schools,” she said.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Indystar.com

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