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ERIC Number: EJ779225
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0031-7217
The Public Schools and the Challenge of the Supreme Court's Integration Decision
Wells, Amy Stuart; Frankenberg, Erica
Phi Delta Kappan, v89 n3 p178-188 Nov 2007
This past June, a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court declared integration plans in Louisville and Seattle unconstitutional because of their focus on race as one factor in assigning students to schools. The Court's ruling in the "Parents Involved in Community Schools" v. "Seattle School District No. 1" and "Meredith" v. "Jefferson County Board of Education" cases, therefore, significantly narrowed the options local officials have to create and maintain racially diverse school enrollments and stabilize their districts by making all schools more equal. The legal issue in these cases was whether or not school officials in districts that are no longer (or never were) under a court order to remedy state-sanctioned or de jure racial segregation can use voluntary efforts to stave off the racial segregation that would occur if all their students simply went to their neighborhood schools. Hundreds of school districts across the country have adopted some variation of these plans because such voluntary integration achieves two goals. First, it provides families with choice, and second, it ensures that schools remain fairly balanced in terms of race, resources, reputation, and political clout. This balance prevents instability and the white and middle-class flight that often follows. Despite the obvious benefits of these plans, five of the nine Supreme Court justices declared them unconstitutional, stating that districts cannot take individual students' race into account when assigning them to schools unless the program is specifically designed to remedy the harms of de jure or Jim Crow segregation. This article is written for school district officials, educators, parents, students, and advocates who understand the relationship between segregation and inequality, who want to prepare children for the 21st century, and who believe that more and not less equality is the path to a stronger democracy. The goal is to reunite the means and the ends of racial integration in a post-"Parents Involved" era. (Contains 46 endnotes.)
Phi Delta Kappa International. 408 North Union Street, P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-1789. Tel: 800-766-1156; Fax: 812-339-0018; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Parents
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Phi Delta Kappa International, Bloomington, IN.
Identifiers - Location: Kentucky; Washington