ERIC Number: ED185207
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Social Science Research in School Desegregation Cases: A Critical Review.
Rossell, Christine H.
Because educational equity is a developing area, courts have little precedent to guide rulings. Extra-legal evidence may help in deciding what the law is. Social science evidence is also invited by the courts because educational equity law is purportedly an instrument of social change. The sophistication of social science research, as well as the qualifications of testifying experts, varies greatly. Some confusions about the role of social science in court cases may result from the fact that the bulk of expert testimony is contributed by educational practitioners drawing conclusions and making inferences rather than by social scientists testifying about their research findings. Social science has influenced the development of educational equity law by identifying and clarifying important issues, by providing consensual factual information, and by instructing the courts on how to analyze the salient issues. Legal opinions often indicate that the courts have adopted the social science mode of reasoning and the findings that follow and have chosen one social science claim over another. Even when social science research merely corroborates a judge's priori preference, such evidence can still influence a decision. In some cases, social science may provide the court with the necessary intellectual justification for a decision that cannot be justified only on legal grounds. (Author/MK)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Evidence; Social Justice
Note: Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Boston, MA, April 7-11, 1980)