Editor’s Note: Last month, UC Berkeley’s Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity and UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles released a report detailing Berkeley Unified School District’s long-standing school integration plan. The district, largely due to the innovative way it links geography and diversity, is being hailed as a national model for integration in the post-PICS era. Below is the executive summary to the report, “Integration Defended: Berkeley Unified’s Strategy to Maintain School Diversity.” A full link to the research is included just following the summary.

In June 2007, the Supreme Court limited the tools that school districts could use to voluntarily integrate schools. In the aftermath of the ruling in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (PICS), educators around the country have sought models of successful plans that would also be legal. One such model may be Berkeley Unified School District’s (BUSD) plan. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court declined to review the appellate court’s decision upholding the legality of the district’s integration plan. The decision noted the district did not use students’ race or ethnicity in a way that violated Proposition 209, a California initiative prohibiting the preferential or discriminatory use of race-ethnicity in public institutions. This report explores the BUSD plan and examines what it offers as lessons in a time of growing demographic and legal complexity.

BUSD’s integration plan uses two levels of geography in its “controlled choice” plan. The levels are zoning and planning areas, which are 4 to 8 (neighborhood) block groups coded according to their racial-ethnic, economic and educational demographics. While managing families’ school preferences and a set of priorities, the plan seeks to maximize school diversity so that each school reflects its zone-wide diversity as measured by the planning areas. What is innovative about BUSD’s plan is that every student living in a particular planning area is assigned the same diversity code, based on the area’s population characteristics regardless of their own individual characteristics.

Key findings include:

  • The district is attractive to residents: the majority (77%) of Berkeley residents enrolled in K-12 schools opt to attend public school.
  • The current student assignment plan produces substantial racial-ethnic diversity across the district’s elementary schools but is not as effective at integrating schools by socioeconomic status.
  • The district proactively engages in a series of practices to counteract the stratifying effect that educational choice policies often have when families of varying resources navigate a school choice system. These practices include offering a simplified application process, providing ample opportunities to learn about the schools, and conducting outreach to the city’s low income residents. In addition, the district monitors each school’s applicant pool diversity distribution — to ensure enrollments will reflect the projected zone-wide diversity distribution — and manages the wait lists in an equitable manner by applying the priority categories and considering diversity goals when offering students new assignments.
  • The plan is successful in matching families with their choices: 76% of families received their first choice school or dual-immersion language program for 2008-2009 kindergarten placements; 8% received their second choice; 9% received their third choice, and 7% were assigned to a school they did not choose.
  • BUSD promotes school-site equity as one of its integration goals for the purpose of making all school choices attractive to families by minimizing differences and discouraging competition between them. While there is variation in faculty racial-ethnic diversity across schools there is not a strong relationship between the percentage of white students and the percentage of white teachers (as is often the case).
  • There is mixed evidence that BUSD has convinced its families that all elementary schools in the district are equal. There is variation in requests for schools and matriculation rates among families assigned to them. While 80% of families that participate in the earliest round of kindergarten assignments eventually matriculate in the district, there is variation by choice received. Eighty-four percent of those receiving their first choice matriculate, compared with 67% of those who did not receive their first choice. However, the majority of families with higher levels of socioeconomic status matriculate regardless of receiving their first choice.

Drawn from a year-long study of the BUSD integration plan, the report reviews the district’s historical commitment to desegregation, describes how the current plan works, analyzes the extent the plan desegregates the schools despite being located in racially and socioeconomically segregated neighborhoods, and discusses the plan’s implementation including the policies and practices that promote participation in its controlled choice assignment plan and matriculation once assigned.

The 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision was portrayed as one dramatically limiting or ending voluntary integration. The Court acknowledged that there are compelling reasons to voluntarily pursue integration: to prevent racial isolation and to create diverse schools. Berkeley is an important example of how school districts can pursue this goal without relying on individual racial classifications. BUSD demonstrates that what may appear to be insurmountable legal barriers to integration—Proposition 209 and PICS—can be overcome.

With an understanding of the legal parameters, smart, committed educators in Berkeley have adopted an integration plan that combines an assignment strategy using zones at two levels, educational reform in improving and equalizing all schools to be attractive, and outreach as a way to promote successful integration. Other communities concerned about the diminishing options for preventing school re-segregation, but who understand the important educational and social benefits of integrated schools, should seriously consider this model.

A link to the Executive Summary and full UC report is available at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/deseg/integration_defended_report_2009.pdf

For next time…
The next issue of TIR will discuss how the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education might revive its role in issues of school integration.

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
The Integration Report


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Attorneys examine JCM, Madison
U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. told attorneys involved in Jackson-Madison County (Tennessee) School’s 46-year-old desegregation lawsuit to work hard on the issue of student assignment during a teleconference held on Thursday afternoon. The attorneys are trying to determine if they can agree on the one remaining issue of student assignment under the desegregation agreement (October 2, 2009).

Student transfers draw concerns
Why are students leaving north Huntsville (Alabama) schools? According to one school board member, it may come down to reputation. Several north Huntsville schools lost students to transfers this year. The federal No Child Left Behind Act allows transfers of students in schools that don’t make “adequate yearly progress.” Also, because of the school system’s long-standing federal desegregation order, students are allowed to switch schools based on race. A black child can leave a majority black school, for example (October 2, 2009).

Board strikes down charter
At its Thursday meeting, the St. Landry Parish School Board approved a resolution standing by its earlier rejection of the proposed Acadiana Charter School. The board voted 8-1 in favor of the resolution, which will be presented to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education prior to its next meeting. The success of the school district was cited as a factor in rejecting the alternative school. St. Landry Parish has a number of high-poverty, high-performing schools, as well as programs such as Ensuring Literacy for All, better known as ELFA, to help students achieve academic goals, making the charter school, in the board’s view, unnecessary and harmful to the educational goals of the parish (October 2, 2009).

Judge meets with Ark. districts over desegregation
A federal judge will hear requests early next year from two Pulaski County (Arkansas) school districts that say they’re ready to be declared desegregated and released from court supervision. Holding his first hearing on the matter Wednesday since taking the case in April, U.S. District Judge Brian Miller also questioned what the goal is of the long-running litigation (October 1, 2009).
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FHSAA addressing concerns over the equality of schools
Tallahassee, Florida may be an urban oasis in North Florida, but that just highlights the quandary some urban and rural high schools face when it comes to athletics. The Florida High School Athletics Association is looking for a way to make the athletic competitions between schools like those in the capital city and the surrounding counties more equitable. Primarily the association, and a five-person urban/rural committee, will field suggestions from across Florida regarding open enrollment, attendance boundaries and foreign student eligibility (October 1, 2009).

Busing opponents may gain in N.C. school board election
10 years later, Florida’s FCAT, school grade reforms get mixed grades deserved or not — for graduating too many kids who couldn’t read or write. Then-Gov. Jeb Bush, who saw himself as an education innovator, hit on a grand plan to make schools accountable. He called it the A+ Plan for Education.It morphed into the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and took on newfound importance: Schools would be assigned a letter grade, A through F, based on exam scores.

PCSSD seeking release
Pulaski County (Arkansas) Special School District is in substantial compliance with the Plan 2000 desegregation agreement and should be declared unitary and released from court oversight, district attorney Sam Jones will tell U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller Wednesday morning at a status hearing (September 30, 2009).

Minneapolis board approves plan to cut citywide choice system
In response to years of falling enrollment and multimillion-dollar budget deficits, the Minneapolis school board has approved a downsizing plan that will close four schools and reduce busing within the district (September 30, 2009).
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Council to approve Massive Resistance apology
On September 19, 1958 Lane High School and Venable Elementary Schools shut down for five months in an attempt by officials to prevent the desegregation of the Charlottesville School System. Now, City Council wants to say it is sorry for that. The action, known as Massive Resistance, was supported and advocated by Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. in an attempt to block the 1954 U.S. Supreme County decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which called for the desegregation of all public schools as “inherently unequal.” Virginia’s then-governor James Lindsay Almond Jr. ordered the immediate closure of the schools in Charlottesville, Warren County High School in Front Royal and six schools in Norfolk (September 29, 2009).

Do Nashville school statistics back rezoning? It depends
District is more diverse; schools at heart of families’ suit aren’t

Armed with an outside legal consultant and new school enrollment data, Metro school board members are on the offense about new school zones, attempting to debunk claims that they drew the zones to move black students out of white neighborhood schools (September 27, 2009).

The color line still crosses the classroom and the school yard
I went to a GSU lecture Thursday by Amy Stuart Wells, director of the Center for Understanding Race and Education at Columbia University. She spoke about her research on school resegregation – which she is expanding now to include Atlanta — and her recent book “Both Sides Now,” in which she interviewed students in six towns who experienced school desegregation. It turns out that black and Latino families in search of more affordable housing and backyard decks are flocking to the suburbs. White families in quest of crown molding and vintage claw-foot tubs are relocating to the cities. A national snapshot of metro migration shows that the moving vans of white and minority families are heading in different directions.
So are their children. As America’s metropolitan areas embrace new residential patterns, one variable isn’t changing: Racial segregation in neighborhoods and schools (September 27, 2009).

Chicago schools desegregation decree lifted
Federal judge says ‘vestiges of discrimination are no longer’

Exactly 29 years after the U.S. government sued Chicago Public Schools for discriminating against black and Hispanic students, a federal judge has ended the resulting mandate for the district to racially integrate. U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras vacated the so-called desegregation consent decree late Thursday, stating in an opinion that within the district schools “the vestiges of discrimination are no longer.” The judge also scrapped federal oversight of the district’s bilingual program, saying it was a state issue. The decision is likely to have the most impact on magnet and selective schools in the district, which have maintained race-based admissions while neighborhood schools draw from their local geographic areas. For instance, although white students make up 8 percent of the student population, up to 35 percent of the seats in the highly competitive schools were set aside for white students under the current system (September 26, 2009).

Westchester lawmakers put off vote on historic housing desegregation settlement
Westchester County (New York) Board of Legislators on Monday put off a vote on an historic housing desegregation settlement that dictates affordable housing be built in white communities, giving lawmakers another day to sort out the details (September 21, 2009).

Adjudicating school reform
The School District of Philadelphia received an unwelcome surprise at the beginning of this school year—nearly 200 teachers failed to show up for work just days before school opening. At the time, some commentators suggested the spate of teacher no-shows were linked to the district’s recently stated intent to change its teacher recruitment, retention, and evaluation systems in the city’s neediest schools. Philadelphia’s new policies are remarkable for another reason—the district is required to implement the changes as part of a consent agreement that ends a 39-year old desegregation lawsuit (September 21, 2009).

Williams eyes cuts in busing, return to neighborhood schools
Enrollment guidelines would be modified

Buffalo, New York Schools Superintendent James A. Williams rode a yellow school bus earlier this month, and came away feeling sorry for the youngster who was the first to board. The child spent 45 minutes getting to school. If Williams has his way, substantial reductions in busing — accompanied by changes in enrollment guidelines — could be in effect when school opens next September. After three decades of extensive busing under enrollment patterns based on school desegregation efforts and then on citywide choice, Williams and several members of the Board of Education envision a re-emphasis on neighborhood schools (September 21, 2009).

Emotions complicate equations behind student reassignment plan
On the surface it looks like basic math: If Myers Park High has 3,000 students and East Meck is about to drop to half that size, move some from one school to the other. But as the furor over Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ (North Carolina) proposal to shift students shows, the calculus of families, neighborhoods and schools is never simple. Some of the city’s most fiercely committed public-school families are battling over a plan to move about 200 students. Each side says CMS risks toppling years of work to preserve fragile schools, alienating the very people who could save Charlotte from the fate of cities that have abandoned public education (September 20, 2009).

PCSSD opposes 2 charter schools; fear charter schools could hurt public education
The Pulaski County Special School District School Board last week approved two motions opposing the establishment of two Little Rock charter schools — Little Rock Urban Public Charter (UCPC) School for Young Men and Friends Academy of Health & Environmental Services. According to the adopted school board resolution, state law requires that the Arkansas State Board of Education not approve any charter schools that may delay, hamper, or negatively affect the desegregation efforts of a school district (September 18, 2009).

Mired in debate, school assignment system remains
A long-sought change to the controversial system San Francisco Unified School District uses to assign students to campuses is still in the works, but the Board of Education is plagued with the same cyclical problem: No one can agree on an alternative. The district is apt to promote statistics showing that the majority of families — 78 percent this year — receive a school of their choice. Every year, though, that leaves thousands of students assigned to a school they did not request. The district has said its goal is to have a new system in place for the 2010-11 school year, but several officials said that’s uncertain (September 18, 2009).

CMS posts options for shifting students
Debate over changes for Eastover, Myers Park ratchets up. Board to assess proposals Tuesday.
New proposals in Charlotte, NC that would shuffle students in popular magnets and some affluent close-in neighborhoods turned up the volume Wednesday on a student-assignment controversy that already has hundreds of families up in arms. Parents in the Dilworth neighborhood began organizing within the hour. Those plans involve moving some Eastover students into the high-poverty First Ward Elementary and/or swapping magnet and neighborhood-school buildings (September 17, 2009).

Attorneys say court should end school monitoring
Attorneys for the state and for the Pulaski County Special and North Little Rock school districts say the schools should be released from federal court supervision. The attorneys submitted reports Tuesday in response to questions from U.S. District Judge Brian Miller. Miller had asked whether the districts have reached unitary – or desegregated – status and, if not, what are the impediments (September 16, 2009).

NAACP attorney asks School Board to investigate JCM hiring
NAACP attorney Richard Fields released a statement Monday in which he urges the Jackson-Madison County (Tennessee) School Board to investigate Superintendent Nancy Zambito’s hiring decisions and other issues at Jackson Central-Merry High School (September 15, 2009).

LRSD and charter schools
Last week, Chris Heller, the attorney for the Little Rock School District, made a filing in federal court related to the state’s ongoing push to end Pulaski County desegregation litigation. He noted shortcomings in the Pulaski District’s move toward desegregated status. Heller also noted the state’s failure over a period of many years to consider the impact on resegregation of the district through the state’s approval of open enrollment charter schools in Little Rock. The charters duplicate administration and thus create new, inefficient school districts. They have often been more segregated than regular public schools. Most significantly, they function like quasi-private schools (September 14, 2009).

OPS ponders the future
The future of four Omaha Public Schools was up for discussion Monday afternoon. Omaha Northwest High School could become a magnet school that allows students to earn both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree in four years. Nathan Hale Middle School could become the middle school magnet center to get students ready for the rigors of that program. The Student Assignment Plan was developed just prior to the end of desegregation busing and is the way the Omaha district determines school choice. If adopted, the district would use already committed private funding for the Central and Lewis and Clark program changes and would seek federal grant funding for the changes at Northwest and Nathan Hale (September 14, 2009).

Judge tours schools in Tangipahoa deseg case
Federal Judge Ivan Lemelle toured several schools in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana on Friday as part of a school desegregation case that dates back more than 40 years to the Civil Rights movement.”You can’t have this in the 21st century. You just can’t do it, but we do and we are addressing it now,” said Patricia Morris with the NAACP. “You have 36 schools in Tangipahoa Parish. Thirty of them are majority-white schools only six are desegregated.” Alternative schools are majority black. The desegregation suit was reopened in 2004 because of the conditions of the schools and because minorities were not being hired in positions as teachers, supervisors and coaches (September 14, 2009).

Schools ruling led to a decade of change
End of race-based student assignment launched ripples whose merit is still debated, and fresh calls for vision.

Ten years ago, a federal judge struck down race-based assignment in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a decision that changed schools and communities and poses challenges for the years ahead. In the ensuing decade, suburban schools became more numerous, more crowded and generally remained high-performing. Last year about two-thirds of CMS’s white students attended majority-white schools in the suburbs. Center-city schools, including many magnets, have seen white and middle-class students dwindle. In November, voters will choose a school board with a lot of new faces. Many say that board’s mission must include crafting a clearer vision for deciding where kids go to school. One of the toughest questions: Should CMS draw boundaries to promote diversity? Or should it strengthen ties between schools and communities, even if that means locking in differences (September 10, 2009)?

Tangipahoa plan back in court
Judge: People must back desegregation

No matter what plan is approved, the Tangipahoa Parish school system will never desegregate unless the School Board and the community faithfully implement the plan, U.S. District Judge Ivan R.L. Lemelle said Tuesday morning. Attorneys for both sides were in federal court here to offer closing arguments over the School Board’s proposed desegregation plan in the 46-year-old case of Joyce M. Moore v. the Tangipahoa Parish School Board. Tuesday’s hearing followed a dozen court hearings held since June 30 (September 8, 2009).

PCSSD votes to oppose proposed charter schools
The Pulaski County Special School District Board told two proposed charter schools Tuesday that it doesn’t want them in the school district. The district superintendent says approving the schools would undo years of desegregation efforts. The two applications in question are for open enrollment charter schools. That means any student from the big three school districts can opt to go there (September 8, 2009).

Riverview enrollment nears diversity goal, but fewer students thwart plan
The Beaufort County (South Carolina) School District is bound by a 1970 desegregation agreement, which requires the percentage of white and black students in each school to approximate the district-wide percentage, including charter schools. By the 2010-11 school year, Riverview Charter School’s enrollment of white students must not exceed the district’s kindergarten through sixth-grade enrollment of white students by more than 20 percentage points, according to the U.S. Office for Civil Rights. Its black enrollment should not be more than 20 percentage points less than the district average. Steps taken this summer to boost minority enrollment pushed Riverview Charter School closer to compliance with the Beaufort County School District’s desegregation plan, but the school hasn’t met federal racial targets yet (September 7, 2009).

School boundaries to shift
The decision to build Wichita’s new northeast high school and K-8 school in Bel Aire means the district needs to redraw school attendance boundaries. As a result, two years from now, students might be assigned a different neighborhood school than the one they attend today. At the same time, eliminating busing for integration has left the district with the conundrum of creating racially and economically diverse neighborhood schools out of segregated housing patterns. Officials are studying creative solutions in other districts, which include: Establishing pie-shaped boundaries with the center of the city as the center of the pie. That would more evenly distribute students from poorer neighborhoods near the city’s center to schools throughout the district. Duplicating magnet programs, such as assigning a school on the east side and one on the west side of the district with the same magnet theme (September 3, 2009).

Report: Integration plan a model for other districts
A new report says that Berkeley’s student assignment plan is a model for other districts struggling to maintain diversity in their schools. The report, titled “Integration Defended: Berkeley Unified’s Strategy to Maintain School Diversity,” was released Tuesday.The UC report says that Berkeley Unified officials were successful in achieving “substantial integration in a city where neighborhoods are polarized by racial-ethnic and socioeconomic status” (September 3, 2009).

Airline Park Elementary School approved for magnet status
Airline Park Elementary School in Metairie, Louisiana should be converted into a magnet school for gifted and advance level elementary students, a Jefferson Parish School Board committee recommended WednesdayIf approved by the School Board on Oct. 7 and then by the federal judge overseeing the school system’s desegregation order, the conversion would take place for the 2010-2011 school year. Under the desegregation order, the system is required to have equivalent services, faculty, facilities and student assignments on both sides of the Mississippi River. Presently, the West Bank has two magnet elementary schools, the east bank just one (September 2, 2009).

Lawyers for Westchester: Terms of desegregation settlement final
Take it or leave it.A $62.5 million housing settlement with the federal government is final and nonnegotiable lawyers for Westchester County (New Yoirk) told members of the Board of Legislators yesterday. Despite serious concerns raised by several lawmakers about the county’s ability to live up to its end of an agreement that requires Westchester to play a role in creating 750 affordable-housing units in mostly white communities, officials maintain the county isn’t going to do any better by rejecting it and going to court (September 2, 2009).

Which blueprint should OCPS follow to desegregate schools? Berkeley’s?
A joint report by the University of California shows that Berkeley Unified School District’s planto maintain diversity might serve as a model for school districts trying to seek sound desegregation programs. The issue of maintaining diversity is always a big issues, made stickier by a 2007 Supreme Courtsplit decision that limited how districts can use race or ethnicity to assign children to campuses. In Orange, Florida’s case, it is going to have to do whatever is laid out in its current court order first – which basically deals with only black and white school children. But the Supreme Court decision could apply later, especially if other groups take the district to court for its school-assignment plans (September 2, 2009).

Judge to close 1967 desegregation suit against N.C. school
A school district in North Carolina’s Bertie County expects a judge to sign off on an order to end a decades-old federal desegregation lawsuit. The lawsuit, brought in 1967, continued to require district resources by requiring legal fees and occasional attention from administrators. Most school districts don’t bother with closing similar cases, a University of North Carolina law professor said, because conditions are so different from when the suit was filed (August 28, 2009).

LR board delays response to settlement offer
The Little Rock School Board says it won’t respond to an offer to phase out desegregation funding from the state until it determines the impact on the district. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel last week proposed to phase out the nearly $69 million a year the state pays to the three school districts in Pulaski County (August 28, 2009).

Bottom Line: School ‘choice’ shaping up as L.A.’s next civil rights fight
Los Angeles school board member Marguerite LaMotte cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday against the Public School Choice resolution approved by the board. As expected, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa won the first round of the Rumble on Beaudry when the board of Los Angeles Unified School District voted Tuesday to effectively privatize the public school system. Actually, Tuesday’s rumble was a three-card event as the school board tackled three highly controversial, viscerally charged issues that are pitting races against races, unions against bosses and property taxpayers against tax collectors ensconced in the temple of public office — all in the name of improving the quality of education delivered to LAUSD’s students (August 26, 2009).

January could be D-day for ECISD desegregation lawsuit
Come January, the long-standing desegregation case against ECISD (Texas) could be over.
CRUCIAL representative Gene Collins and the district’s attorney, Mike Atkins, said an update hearing between both sides is planned for the new year in U.S. District Judge Rob Junell’s courtroom. ECISD received a bit of a setback in its quest to be released from an ongoing desegregation case Tuesday evening when Junell denied any immediate dismissal of the suit from his federal courtroom in Midland, though without ruling on the specific merits of the case (August 27, 2009).

McDaniel: Proposal to phase out deseg funding better than alternatives
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on Tuesday urged the three Pulaski County school districts to consider his proposal to end the state’s $60 million annual payments in the long-running desegregation case because they might not like the outcome if the issue goes to court.
McDaniel told state legislators his offer would wean the districts off state funding for desegregation programs over a seven-year period, while a federal judge could stop payments immediately (August 25, 2009).

Integration faces a new test in the suburbs
It felt like a return to the ’60s a week ago — a sweeping call for social justice, a frontal assault on the comforts of the status quo, the resurrection of issues and rallying cries from the distant past. We speak not of that famous concert in the mud, which now seems as threatening as an eccentric uncle, but of a desegregation agreement that would compel Westchester County to create hundreds of housing units for moderate-income people in some of the most affluent and least racially diverse communities in the country (August 23, 2009).

The affordable-housing holdouts
In 2002, Mayor David Kroenlein of Scarsdale said his village, a wealthy and predominantly white enclave, had no room for affordable housing. In February, Judge Denise L. Cote found that from 2000 to 2006 the county had misrepresented its efforts to desegregate overwhelmingly white communities when it applied for federal housing funds requiring those efforts. By not making adequate attempts to determine where new low-income housing was being placed, or to finance homes and apartments in communities that had no such housing, the county perpetuated segregation. In an Aug. 10 press release, the county announced its capitulation but admitted no wrongdoing (August 23, 2009).

Mississippi making civil rights part of K-12 instruction
In Mississippi, where mention of the Civil Rights Movement evokes images of bombings, beatings and the Ku Klux Klan, public schools are preparing to test a program that will ultimately teach students about the subject in every grade from kindergarten through high school. Many experts believe the effort will make Mississippi the first state to mandate civil rights instruction for all K-12 students (August 21, 2009).

Jefferson Parish schools revising transfer policy
U.S. Judge Kurt Engelhardt approved the desegregation order in May 2008. About 150 Jefferson Parish (Louisiana) public school students who were forced to switch schools this year after their transfer requests were unexpectedly denied could get a chance to return to their original schools. Jefferson Parish School Board attorney Michael Fanning said the district is allowing students who were permitted to attend schools outside their home boundaries last year but prohibited under the same conditions this year to submit applications for a second round of assessments (August 21, 2009).

Court upholds Texas admissions policy
A federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of the University of Texas-Austin and against two white applicants to the state’s flagship public college who sued because they felt the school’s admissions policies unfairly favored minority applicants. U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks found that the university’s admissions policies were narrowly tailored, especially in terms of race, and therefore constitutional (August 18, 2009).

OCR tells school district to open new school, reconfigure others while investigation
The federal Office for Civil Rights directed the Beaufort County (South Carolina) School District last week to proceed with all plans to open new schools and restructure attendance boundaries this year, a district official said Friday. The attendance zones drawn to accommodate Red Cedar Elementary in Bluffton were examined by OCR, as mandated by the district’s 1970 desegregation plan. The school is projected to be the district’s first majority-Hispanic school. Plans to consolidate Whale Branch and James J. Davis elementary schools and convert Davis Elementary to an early learning center also were investigated. It is anticipated both schools will serve student bodies that are more than 80 percent black (August 14, 2009).

School zone changes on group’s agenda
The public may find out tonight what school attendance zones will look like when Sumter (South Carolina) School Districts 2 and 17 merge in July 2011.It was the issue of what school students can attend that led to the drive to consolidate the two districts, one of the subgroup members, the Rev. Leroy James, said at the panel’s first meeting in April. City Councilman William Painter, who is co-chairman of the transition committee with County Councilman Larry Blanding, has said his goal is to have the attendance boundaries resolved before the end of the year so they can be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice. The department must review any changes to attendance boundaries because District 2 is under a court-ordered desegregation plan dating to 1969, and District 17 has a voluntary desegregation plan created in 1975 (August 13, 2009).

Feds keep city schools on hold
Huntsville, Alabama school administrators stuffed four, each the size of a copy-paper box, with statistical data and attendance numbers and maps and yearbooks. These were to offer clues to the 39-year-old federal question: Are Huntsville schools desegregated? The boxes were labeled: Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice. The mail went out in December 2007. There’s been silence ever since. Having spent years covering this question, I can say there are no easy answers. Huntsville clearly operates schools identifiable by race, sorted by neighborhoods, influenced by income and scoring at the extremes. (August 13, 2009).

School board looks to move forward without desegregation court order
A federal judge ruled in July the Alamance-Burlington (North Carolina) School System has met its obligations to eliminate racial discrimination as a factor in where students attend school. That gives the school system more flexibility in deciding where students attend school, if and when it takes a look at changing student attendance zones. The board briefly discussed making more limited changes to how students are assigned. Majestic said it’s possible provisions that were once meant to achieve racial balance could be kept in place if they serve another purpose – such as keeping one or more schools from becoming more crowded than others. Board members who spoke up said they would prefer to find an alternate way to determine which school students in that part of the county attend (August 13, 2009).

UCLA researchers: School segregation worsens in West Las Vegas
Neighborhood’s elementary schools considered in danger of isolation by language barrier, poverty and race
Despite “substantial investment,” school segregation trends are getting worse in the minority neighborhood of West Las Vegas, according to researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles. Because the historically black neighborhood has a growing Hispanic population, its elementary schools are in danger of triple segregation, or isolation by language barrier, poverty and race. The UCLA report also notes that students in West Las Vegas are taught by teachers who have less experience than the average Clark County School District teacher (August 12, 2009).

Some parents raise concerns over school’s open enrollment
In recent years, the Scottsdale Unified School District has tried to attract out-of-district students to bring in more state funding. The goal has been largely successful, with some Scottsdale high schools enrolling close to a third of their students who live outside the school’s boundaries. But some Arcadia High School parents are questioning whether it has gone too far. Arcadia, which sits at the southwestern edge of the district boundary in Phoenix, enrolled 530 to 570 students from outside its school boundaries last year. The school had an enrollment of about 1,600 last year (August 11, 2009).

Westchester adds housing to desegregation pact
Westchester County entered into a landmark desegregation agreement on Monday that would compel it to create hundreds of houses and apartments for moderate-income people in overwhelmingly white communities and aggressively market them to nonwhites in Westchester and New York City.The agreement, if ratified by the county’s Board of Legislators, would settle a lawsuit filed by an antidiscrimination group and could become a template for increased scrutiny of local governments’ housing policies by the Obama administration.
“This is consistent with the president’s desire to see a fully integrated society,” said Ron Sims, the deputy secretary of housing and urban development, which helped broker the settlement along with the Justice Department. “Until now, we tended to lay dormant. This is historic, because we are going to hold people’s feet to the fire” (August 11, 2009).

New teaching method uses students’ different cultures
Two unified schools will push diversity

Two Racine (Wisconsin) Unified schools will start class this fall with a new teaching method that incorporates students’ diverse cultures. Gilmore Middle School, 2330 Northwestern Ave., and Giese Elementary School, 5120 Byrd Ave., will serve as pilot schools for culturally relevant and responsive education, which asks staff to develop better understandings of different cultures while using students’ life experiences in the classroom. In the classroom, culturally relevant education means more posters and projects celebrating diversity, library collections with works from many cultural traditions and a curriculum with multiple ethnic perspectives. For example, art classes could study art from around the world and science classes could use everyday life concepts from various ethnic groups, according to Unified (August 11, 2009).

Big, yellow and ripe for budget cuts
About 2,000 students in Hartford will find themselves without a ride to school this fall as their school district tries to slash its fleet of 140 buses by half to save $3 million a year. School buses have traditionally rolled through storms, subzero temperatures and even spikes in gas prices, but this year, many across the New York region and elsewhere are being grounded by the recession. The National Association for Pupil Transportation, an industry group, estimated that daily bus ridership dropped 5 percent, to about 25 million, in 2008-9 — the lowest level in more than a decade — and will likely drop further in the next year (August 9, 2009).

Magistrate: Zoning suit flawed
Attendance zones adopted last year by the Ascension (Louisiana) Parish School Board have not been proved racially discriminatory, a federal magistrate in Baton Rouge concluded. U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine Noland recommended Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson dismiss a civil rights suit filed by Darrin Kenny Lewis Sr. Lewis is a black parent who argued the new plan unfairly would route his children to East Ascension High School, which has more minority and economically disadvantaged students than other parish schools on the east side of the Mississippi River (August 7, 2009).

Create charter schools that reduce segregation
Charter schools are officially the new “it” in education reform. For President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and a score of elected officials across the country, “more charter schools” is the ubiquitous answer to what ails schools enrolling large shares of disadvantaged children of color. In late June, Louisiana lifted its cap on the number of charter schools allowed under state law. Last month, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts filed legislation that would do the same in his state. State officials are open about their hopes that lifting such caps will improve their chances of getting a share of the $4.35 billion in “Race to the Top” funding made available under the federal stimulus law (August 6, 2009).
http://www.edweek.org/login.html?source=http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/08/06/37eaton.h28.html&destination=http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/08/06/37eaton.h28.html&levelId=2100 [subscription link]

Charter expansion approved for city heights school
Student achievement trumped diversity in a battle over educational goals as the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday approved an expansion of a charter for a City Heights school that mainly serves Somalis. Approval allows the K-8 Iftin Charter School at 5465 El Cajon Blvd. to expand to high school grades as well. District staff had recommended denial of the expansion plan because Iftin’s student body was 93 percent African-American — nearly entirely Somali — in a neighborhood that’s 45 percent Hispanic and just 14 percent black. State law calls for charter schools to strive for a student body that reflects the district’s demographics (August 3, 2009).

Change middle school districts?: Attorneys talked about transferring students from Brookhaven
Attorneys in Decatur, Georgia’s unitary status case discussed allowing Brookhaven Middle School students to transfer to Cedar Ridge or Oak Park, removing principals from teacher hiring and allowing a civil rights group to study discipline. The discussions were part of an effort to give a federal judge a consensus agreement to remove the city system from federal desegregation oversight. The parties did not make any binding decisions. United States District Judge R. David Proctor asked the school board attorney, the U.S. Justice Department and the plaintiffs’ attorney to report the results in a joint motion. The Justice Department and plaintiffs oppose Decatur’s unitary status bid (August 3, 2009).

DOJ celebrates 45th anniversary of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
“Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidies or results in racial discrimination,” said President John F. Kennedy on June 11, 1963. In the spirit of this ideal, the U.S. Department of Justice recently held a conference to celebrate the passage of the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964. Title VI is part of the landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance (August 1, 2009).

Enthusiasm grows for magnet schools
Columbus Municipal School District (Mississippi) officials report the city’s school choice program — first implemented in the fall of 2005 — still is successful.”Columbus Magnet Schools offer parents a unique opportunity to choose the school theme and program that their child is most interested in,” said CMSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Martha Liddell. “As the registration officer for the district, I have the pleasure to work first-hand with parents as they enter our school system. I am very pleased to report that the overwhelming response I get from parents is enthusiasm about our magnet schools and satisfaction they can choose the program of interest for their child” (August 1, 2009).

Jefferson School Board meets on desegregation
Members meeting in executive session to come up with plan

Jefferson Parish (Louisiana) School Board members discussed better ways to improve the quality of education for African-American students at a meeting Wednesday night. The board went into an executive session to consider ways to better integrate the school system. They’re trying to meet the demands of a desegregation lawsuit and African-American parents.
The parents want the school system to follow a federal court order that desegregates schools throughout the parish (July 29, 2009).

Please send us your news
Please send reports, documents, court decisions, comments or suggestions for topics to: The Integration Report, Editor Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, at integrationrept@ucla.edu.
We are looking for any information regarding changes to transportation routes that may adversely affect racial diversity in light of increasing fuel costs. Please let us know if these issues are being discussed in your communities.

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Additional Resources for School Integration

**NEW** The Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD) and MP Associates would like to invite you to check out new resources at http://www.racialequitytools.org.
Racial Equity Tools Web site is designed to support people and groups who are working for inclusion, racial equity and social justice. The site includes ideas, strategies and tips, as well as a clearinghouse of resources and links from many sources.

**NEW** Social Psychology Network, a nonprofit educational organization funded by the National Science Foundation, recently released a web-based learning resource on the topic of segregation, found at http://www.UnderstandingPrejudice.org/segregation.
Racial Equity Tools Web site is designed to support people and groups who are working for inclusion, racial equity and social justice. The site includes ideas, strategies and tips, as well as a clearinghouse of resources and links from many sources.

From the Courtroom to the Classroom: The Shifting Landscape of School Desegregation
Edited by Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development faculty Claire Smrekar and Ellen Goldring and published by Harvard University Press.

“Bringing Children Together: Magnet Schools and Public Housing Redevelopment”
Available at http://www.prrac.org/pdf/bringing_children_together.pdf, and will be up shortly on the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Web site (http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/Home.aspx). The report stems from a February 2008 conference on public housing redevelopment, magnet schools and justice reinvestment.

“Court-Mandated Education Reform: The San Francisco Experience and the Shaping of Educational Policy after Seattle-Louisville and Ho v. SFUSD“.
Research article examining the arc of desegregation in San Francisco Unified, written by former court monitor, Stuart Biegel, with important implications for school districts around the country in the wake of the PICS decision. http://sjcrcl.stanford.edu/contents.html

Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School
The New Press announces the publication of Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race In School, edited by Mica Pollock. How should teachers and parents respond when children ask challenging questions about race? How should teachers handle the use of the “N-word” or discuss “achievement gaps” with colleagues? How can teachers avoid unwittingly making children of color speak on behalf of their entire group? While numerous books exist about race and race theory, Everyday Antiracism puts theory into practice by offering specific strategies for combating racism in the classroom. This book is available to order through Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

Sheff Web Site, http://www.sheffmovement.org/index.shtml – This Web provides information regarding the Sheff desegregation case in Connecticut. To view the results of a recent statewide poll revealing broad based support for interdistrict desegregation programs, please visit http://www.sheffmovement.org/pdf/PollPressRelease6-11-08.pdf.

The School Law Blog, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_law/ – Visit the School Law Blog for an important discussion of news and analysis of legal developments affecting schools, educators, and parents. Mark Walsh has been covering legal issues in education for more than 15 years for Education Week. He writes about school-related cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and in lower courts.

Still Looking to the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration; A Manual for Parents, Educators and Advocates. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP) are distributing the 2nd edition of their K-12 school integration manual which addresses the practical questions of what can be done to promote diversity and address the harms of racial isolation in schools.
To download the manual, visit http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu or http://www.naacpldf.org.
To request hard copies or CDs of the manual and supplemental materials, please send an e-mail with your contact information and the number of copies requested to manual@naacpldf.org.

Preserving Integration Options for Latino Students. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) and the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP/PDC) are currently disseminating their collaboratively-written guide for parents, advocates and educators interested in promoting diversity and addressing the harms of Latino racial isolation in their schools.
To download the manual or for additional information, please visit CRP/PDF’s Web site at http://www.civilrightsproject.ucla.edu.

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Upcoming Event

Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Education Policy: A Conversation Among Policymakers, Advocates, and Educators.
This conference brings together a wide range of government officials to converse with educators, civil rights advocates, and scholars who support racially and economically integrated K-12 public schools. Participants will learn about racial and socioeconomic integration incentives in current and proposed federal policies, regulations and spending programs. Panelists and audience members also will discuss current integration efforts on the ground that sustain quality integrated schools and stable communities.

Date: November 13, 2009
Time: 10:00 A.M. – 5:30 P.M.
Location: Howard University School of Law
Washington, D.C
Online registration is available beginning October 1, 2009.
For registration and information, please visit the conference Web site at
: http://www.charleshamiltonhouston.org/Events/Event.aspx?id=100099

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The Integration Report – Staff Members

Editor: Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
Editorial Committee: Erica Frankenberg, Gary Orfield, Laurie Russman
Webmaster: John Khuu

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The Integration Report is produced by the Initiative on School Integration at The Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles, and is supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute.

Logo for The CRP/PDC