"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

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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