Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Despite the Segregationist Supreme Court Majority

New issue of The Integration Report from the Civil Rights Project, now at UCLA:
The Integration Report, issue 3
February 11, 2008

The previous issue of The Integration Report focused on the importance of maintaining desegregation plans in light of the June 2007 Seattle/Louisville decision that limited the use of race in student assignment plans. One of the two school districts involved in that case, Jefferson County, KY, released a proposal for a temporary assignment plan last week that seeks to preserve the school system’s racial diversity. Jefferson County, a metropolitan district that includes the city of Louisville, provides a possible model for other districts looking for strategies to sustain racial integration in their schools.

The Jefferson County school district recently outlined system-wide goals that will guide current and future student assignments. These goals include: diversity, quality, choice, predictability, stability, and equity.1 Using geography instead of race, school officials grouped clusters of elementary schools together and established a school-level guideline of between 15 and 50% of students from certain geographic areas. These targeted residential areas serve students with income and parent education levels below the district average, as well as a racial composition of at least 45% of students of color.2 Importantly, the criteria for defining geographic areas broadens the district’s original conception of diversity to include socio-economic status, educational attainment of parents, and the consideration of all racial categories, instead of the former two-race distinction between African American and white students. . . . .

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