Undoing School Integration? Update

August 30, 2006

Last month, I wrote a bit about the case coming up before the Supreme Court, challenging school integration schemes that use race to assign kids to school. Seems the logical way to integrate, doesn’t it? Here in San Francisco, we have had a very complex scheme to achieve integration without assigning by race. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t worked. Now our Board of Education is waiting on this Supreme Court decision before adopting a new school assignment process.

Last week, the US  Soliciter General  filed the first briefs in the upcoming case. You can take a look at some quotes in this LA Times article. Here’s the core of the argument, as far as I can tell: Now that we’ve solved the problems caused by segregated schools, to continue to consider race in school assignment is legalized discrimination.

Unfortunately, the problems associated with segregated schools are far from solved. Black and Latino students, considered as a group, still attend largely segregated, sub-standard schools and have lower test scores than Whites. The Harvard Civil Rights Project does a great job of reporting on analyzing it all.  

Even if this decision upholds integration by race, it won’t accomplish what needs to be done. As MotherTalkers noted last time I posted about this,  what we need is the public will to integrate schools. It’s not there yet.