Thursday, June 28, 2007

Segregation Marches On: Supreme Court Decides in Favor of Status Quo

PARENTS INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS v. SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 ET AL. has been decided. I'll need to get to the bottom of it all but the Supreme Court has made a landmark decision. AP suggests Justice Kennedy's dissent may leave the door cracked for more elaborate methodologies for achieving diversity. Otherwise, it looks like a setback for Civil Rights. Strict scrutiny may have been applied (we'll here lots of those arguments), but there are real world consequences that legal scrutiny could give a rats ass about. Judicial hardlining isn't always humane or in our best interests. It is our Court and we need them to make tough decisions, but we also need them to make conscionable decisions and not act like robots. Look for fewer creative challenges to promoting diversity as school systems will want to avoid press, time, money, and being labeled obstructionist.

My response to a strict scrutiny friend who believes the Court did right: "The only question that matters for much is what the real world fallout will be. Will schools actually trouble themselves with creative ways to engineer diversity, or will they go with the flow and embrace schools as mirror reflections of segregated communites?"

I like Hillary Clinton's response to the Court's ruling; it shows concern for actual effects of law: "These decisions take away the right of local communities to ensure that all students benefit from racially diverse classrooms. Recent evidence shows that integrated schools promote minority academic achievement and can help close the achievement gap."

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