Thursday, June 21, 2007

Schools await desegregation ruling

Jefferson lawsuit could
reshape policy across U.S.

With just 10 days left in its session, education and civil-rights leaders across the nation are anxiously waiting to see whether a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court will end voluntary desegregation in America's public schools -- particularly those in Jefferson County.

No one can say for certain, but some legal experts predict that the court will restrict race-based school assignments in some way, affecting hundreds of districts.

"The conventional thinking is they will limit it or strike it down," said John Brittain, chief counsel for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil-rights legal organization. But he said some remain hopeful.

...If the Jefferson County district loses, it would mark the beginning of a long and difficult effort to redesign how students are assigned -- and determine whether more indirect uses of race, such as attendance zones, are still permissible.

This from the Courier-Journal.

And this local history of JCPS desegregation, again from the Courier-Journal.
Has anyone else noticed a 180 degree shift in the legal strategy being advanced by the desegregation advocates? In the Brown cases, 1954 & 1955, it was argued that federal protections were needed to combat local control and advance a compelling state interest. Now, the advocacy is reversed. Louisville wants to maintain its deseg plan as a compelling local interest. Tricky.

I'll bet a nickle that this conservative court will have no trouble finding a rationale that essentially says any residual segregation in our schools is the produce of segregated housing patterns in our cities and therefore, not the "fault" of any attempt by the schools to segregate. Look for Louisville to lose. Then, look for a resegregation based mostly on economic differences.

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