This holiday edition of The Integration Report is abbreviated. Please read below for a joint statement endorsed by a number of civil rights organizations around the country regarding the federal government’s role in pursuing school integration. Following the statement are links to news articles around the country about school diversity efforts. We’ll be back in the first week of January with suggestions for what the Obama Administration can do in the New Year to revive civil rights and education.

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
The Integration Report

Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Education Policy:
A Conversation Among Policymakers, Advocates and Educators

Post-Conference Statement: An Urgent Need for Federal Support

The November 13 Conference of the National Coalition on School Diversity brought together more than 300 people from across the nation. This included parents, teachers, school administrators, local and state elected leaders, long time civil rights advocates, community organizers, and government officials. We engaged in a substantive, compelling dialogue with representatives from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), the Justice Department, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Congressional staff, and the White House Domestic Policy Council. We expressed our collective concerns about the slow pace of support for voluntary school integration in the new Administration. We feel that our concerns were heard. Now, we must work together to ensure that the new leadership at USDOE goes beyond a mere rejection of the prior administration’s hostile approach toward racial and economic integration, affirmatively expanding support for policies that directly ensure that educational and social benefits reach all racial groups.

This Statement summarizes the most important steps we believe the federal government must take in the next two years to support voluntary school integration in American public schools. It is not intended as an exhaustive recap of all the research and policy proposals presented.

  1. Rescind the August 2008 Guidance Issued by the Previous Administration
    The goals of promoting integration and avoiding racial isolation were recently reaffirmed as compelling government interests by five Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District #1.1 The decision did strike down specific elements of voluntary plans in Seattle and Louisville. However, a majority of the Court indicated support for a wide range of race-conscious measures to promote school integration that do not assign individual students based on their race.
    In August 2008, the USDOE issued a misleading “Guidance” to local districts suggesting that race-conscious plans were no longer permissible, and advising districts to adopt “race-neutral” policies.2 Needless to say, the Department’s 2008 Guidance caused confusion among school administrators. We urge the USDOE, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to rescind the 2008 Guidance and replace it with an affirmative statement that accurately reflects the law.
  2. Expand Funding for the Magnet Schools Assistance Act
    The Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) is the primary source of federal funding for innovative school integration programs. As set out in the No Child Left Behind Act, “[i]t is in the best interests of the United States. . . to continue to desegregate and diversify schools by supporting magnet schools, recognizing that segregation exists between minority and non-minority students as well as among students of different minority groups.” 20 U.S.C. ¬ß 7231(a)(4). However, as we heard at the conference, the president’s FY 2010 budget for MSAP has been flat funded since FY08, and the number of school districts served has steadily decreased. The current budget level funds the program at $104.83 million, supporting approximately 41 MSAP grantees in 17 states. Without funding increases or adjustments for inflation, MSAP is unable to meet the demand for more magnet school programs.3 We urge the USDOE to double funding for the MSAP to at least $210 million in 2011-12, and to include much stronger integration goals in the funding application process, along with other equity measures (including protection against within-school segregation and tracking).
  3. Provide Support for Interdistrict Transfer Programs
    Some of the most successful school integration programs now operating involve the voluntary transfer of students in high poverty urban districts across district lines to attend higher performing (and racially integrated) suburban public schools. These programs have been studied exhaustively, and it is clear that they provide important benefits to both city and suburban students. They need the full support of the federal government, and could serve as models for other highly segregated metropolitan areas. This should include support for parent education and organizing, and transportation costs, as well as staff development and training to ensure that incoming students receive the best possible education when they arrive. Additional efforts should be made to avoid in-school segregation and address the needs of low-income Latino students, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency.
  4. Open up the New Stimulus Education Funds to Voluntary School Integration Programs
    The “Race to the Top Fund” and the “Investing in Innovation Fund,” adopted pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), both have the potential to expand quality, integrated educational options for low-income children in low performing schools. We again urge the USDOE to consider its mandate to promote racial and economic integration in its administration of these funds.4
  5. Promote School Integration in the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
    The upcoming reauthorization of the ESEA (which includes most of the current elements of “No Child Left Behind”) is an important opportunity to restructure the delivery of Title I funding to states and local district in a way that incentivizes integration. Specifically, the USDOE should consider strong incentives to states to require cross-district transfers to permit low-income students to move from high poverty schools to lower poverty schools, with funds appropriately following the students to their new districts. The USDOE should also support revisions in the basic Title I funding formula to more strongly encourage racial and economic integration, expansion of funding for parent involvement, and inclusion of a “private right of action” to permit parents to enforce their children’s rights under the Act.
  6. Incorporate Civil Rights Requirements in the Charter School System
    The growing charter school system should not be exempt from the obligation to promote racial and economic integration. These schools have great potential for diversity, because they are usually not restricted by school district boundaries. Yet in practice these schools tend to be more segregated than nearby conventional public schools. The USDOE should require all charter schools receiving federal funding to take affirmative steps to promote racial and economic integration – including active recruitment of children of color, lower-income families, English language learners and students with disabilities under the IDEA, as well as other appropriate pro-integration measures consistent with the Parents Involved decision. Similarly, consistent with Title VI, the Department should also refrain from funding new racially isolated schools unless such funding is necessary to prevent imminent educational harm.
  7. Better Coordinate Housing and School Policy in Support of School Integration
    HUD and the U.S. Department of Treasury, through their extensive low-income housing programs, exert significant control over where low-income families are permitted to live. However, in spite of a clear mandate to promote integration,5 these agencies have generally not considered the educational impacts of their policies – often steering children of low-income families and children of color into high poverty, segregated schools. It is time for the USDOE to work collaboratively with HUD and Treasury to better link federal housing and school policy, including civil rights siting requirements for the Low-income Housing Tax Credit Program, strong affirmative marketing of all federally-funded housing assets in high performing school districts, and expansion of mobility counseling in the portable Housing Choice Voucher Program to allow families with young children to move into higher performing schools.
  8. Support Strong Civil Rights Related Research at the Department of Education
    The federal government should engage in and fund research designed to assist racially integrated schools both to improve and sustain their diversity. Similarly, studies of successful, integrated schools need to be disseminated and understood. For example, teachers in diverse and racially changing schools could benefit from research on strategies that confront and resolve racial tension, teaching strategies that include and affirm children from a variety of cultural backgrounds and strategies that help educators devise effective and fair alternatives to “tracking” systems that often disproportionately place students of color in lower-level classes. The USDOE should also explore joint research efforts with HUD on combined housing and education strategies to reduce school segregation.
  9. Increase Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement
    The USDOE through the Office of Civil Rights should visibly increase its monitoring and enforcement of civil rights laws, including such issues as parental concerns of racially segregated students in re-established school boundaries and “neighborhood” schools, unnecessary clustering of English language learner students, access to special programs such as gifted and talented programs, and ongoing active review of existing enforcement agreements.
  10. Use the Secretary’s National Leadership Role to Endorse Racial Integration in Schools and Inspire Integration Efforts
    In speeches and other public comments, the Secretary of Education could emphasize that integrated public schools are important training grounds as our nation becomes more diverse. Such schools, the Secretary should emphasize, are critical elements in the health of our democracy. Visits to racially integrated magnet schools, that are also high-performing, for example, would provide public examples of such models and further endorse the goal of racial integration in public schools. Officials can stress that pro-diversity efforts are voluntary measures that provide families expanded educational choices.

Endorsers

John Payton
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
New York, NY

Veronica Rivera
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Washington, DC

Michael W. Macleod-Ball
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Washington, DC

Philip Tegeler
Poverty & Race Research Action Council
Washington, DC

William Taylor
Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights
Washington, DC

Tanya Clay House and Tricia Jefferson
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Washington, DC

Susan Eaton
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice
Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA

Professor Gary Orfield and Professor Patricia Gandara
Civil Rights Project / Proyecto Derechos Civiles
UCLA
Los Angeles, CA

Professor Julius L. Chambers
University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights
University of North Carolina School of Law
Chapel Hill, NC

Professor john powell
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

Professor Derek Black
Education Rights Center
Howard University School of Law
Washington, D.C.

Myron Orfield
Institute on Race and Poverty
University on Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Professor Kevin Welner
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
(affiliation listed for identification purposes only)

Professor John C. Brittain
University of the District of Columbia
David A. Clarke School of Law
Washington, DC
(affiliation listed for identification purposes only)

Washington, DC
December, 2009

For next time…
The next issue of TIR will be released the first week of January with a discussion of what the Obama Administration can do in the New Year to revive civil rights and education.


1 551 U.S. 701 (2007). The No Child Left Behind Act also emphasizes the importance of “support of‚Ķ. local educational agencies that are voluntarily seeking to foster meaningful interaction among students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, beginning at the earliest stage of such students’ education.” 20 U.S.C. ¬ß 7231(a)(4). Racial integration and deconcentration of poverty are also built in to the USDOE’s mandate to ensure equal access to educational opportunities pursuant to 20 USC ¬ß 1228 (a), and its broader responsibilities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
2 http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/raceassignmentese.html.
3 We are grateful to the Magnet Schools of America, a presenter at the November 13 Conference, for this helpful budget analysis. More budget information is available at www.magnet.edu. Magnet Schools of America has requested an increase of $100 million in the MSAP budget to fund an additional 40 districts (average grant award is $2.5 million per year). .
4 Members of the Coalition have submitted formal comments on the proposed guidelines for both of these ARRA education funds. See http://www.prrac.org/projects/schooldiversity.php.
5 The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. ¬ß3608, requires both agencies to “affirmatively further fair housing” in all of their housing and urban development activities ‚Äì including an obligation to avoid segregation and promote residential integration.


Contents

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News Summary

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.

Editor’s Note: A number of articles over the past few months focused on recent changes to Wake County, North Carolina’s student assignment plan. They appear first, in chronological order. Several other groups of articles were placed together for the sake of general cohesion, otherwise articles appear in the order published.

Voters have chance to transform system
Judging by the rhetoric of both sides in the high-stakes school board election Tuesday, Wake County students could be attending two different public school systems. Those who side with the ruling majority on the nine-member board depict North Carolina’s largest school district as a nationally known, high-achieving system with a virtually unique means of keeping schools diverse in population while maintaining overall academic performance. Those who oppose current practices, such as busing students to achieve economic diversity, say Wake hides its failures – low-achieving students, mostly from minority groups – by shuffling them in and out of schools in higher-income areas. Supporters of the current board raise the specter of de facto resegregation of schools under new direction.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/education/story/125674.html

Wake: Vote likely will reshape schools
Wake County’s public schools could be headed for a historic remake as candidates critical of the current board and its approach to school diversity swept three districts in Tuesday’s election, and a fourth candidate led in race that likely will end in a runoff. If seen as a referendum on the board’s policies on diversity, the election showed that the voters who turned out in the four districts at stake decided in large numbers to reject the status quo. The candidates who won outright won by an average of more than 22 percentage points.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/129522.html

Challengers may put schools on new path
Big wins in three districts could mean an end to Wake’s busing policy of busing for diversity

Wake County’s public schools appear to be on the brink of a historic remake as candidates critical of the current board and its approach to school diversity swept three districts in last week’s election. Wake County school board candidate Cathy Truitt says she won’t back busing for diversity if she’s elected. Truitt, who supports an expanded magnet program as well as neighborhood schools, is still seen as a possible swing vote between newly elected members allied with current member Ron Margiotta and the current board members who favor busing for diversity.
http://www.carynews.com/news/story/13887.html

District 2 runoff will affect Wake schools
People in Garner, Fuquay-Varina and other parts of Wake County’s school board District 2 say they have long felt under-represented when big decisions about the schools have been made. But next month, they alone will make a decision that will affect the future of the nation’s 18th largest school district. District 2 voters could decide in a runoff Nov. 3 which of two candidates will join the county board of education. Both hopefuls, retired educator Cathy Truitt and nonprofit executive John Tedesco, say they will challenge the prevailing policies in the school system – notably a policy of busing to ensure that schools are balanced by students’ family income – though their approaches differ.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/wake_county/story/146682.html

NAACP demands Wake school runoff go on
The state NAACP demanded today that elections officials go ahead with a planned Wake County school board election runoff, which could create a situation in which diversity policy supporters retain control of the school board. Wake school board candidate Cathy Truitt submitted a letter Wednesday asking that her request for a Nov. 3 runoff be withdrawn. If the election is canceled by the state Board of Elections, John Tedesco would win the seat and give opponents of the diversity policy a majority on the school board. But the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said election officials should not honor Truitt’s request. If the election occurs and Truitt gets the most votes, the current school board could fill the seat with a candidate who’d preserve the majority in favor of the diversity policy.
http://www.newsobserver.com/front/story/153604.html

School runoff vote up to state elections board
Add the Wake school board runoff mess to the list of items that the State Board of Elections will handle next week. The Wake County Board of Elections unanimously voted Friday to ask the state board for guidance on whether to hold the Nov. 3 runoff in the District 2 race. That contest could decide the direction of the school system. On one side, the Wake County Republican Party and others critical of the school district’s socioeconomic diversity policy want the runoff over. On the other side, the state NAACP wants the runoff to continue.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/155886.html

Controlled choice and an integrated school system
Wake County voters delivered a sobering wake-up call to supporters of diversity in the Oct. 6 school board elections, sweeping opponents of Wake’s existing policy into office. But a system of neighborhood schools – in which wealthy children go to one set of schools, and poor and minority students to another – would be an enormous step backward and damage Raleigh’s enlightened reputation. Fortunately, there is a third way, which would honor school integration, minimize mandatory reassignment and maximize parental choice to neighborhood and non-neighborhood schools.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/columnists_blogs/other_views/story/155634.html

NAACP may sue for diversity
Advocates of busing for diversity have already conceded Wake County’s school board election, but more than 150 people who rallied downtown Friday night sounded far from ready to give up on the long-standing policy. A crowd at Martin Street Baptist Church gave the Rev. William Barber, the state NAACP leader, a standing ovation when he said the organization was prepared to sue to stop the resegregation of Wake County schools.
http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/167055.html

Dollars build taller wall than race in schools
Three decades ago, when Wake County began busing children to maintain diversity in its schools, officials were trying to erase stark racial divides. Now, as the county contemplates an end to busing, many of Wake’s neighborhoods are more racially integrated, but the economic dividing line remains. An analysis of school system data by The News & Observer shows that many of the county’s neighborhoods, especially in suburban areas, have become relatively racially diverse. Available statistics indicate that less than 20 percent of Wake neighborhoods are more than 75 percent minority, and slightly more than a third appear to be 75 percent or higher white. Census data from 2000 showed a similar situation, spurred by growth and the entry of minorities into the middle class over the past few decades. But The N&O’s analysis also shows a county split by income into halves. If all children went to their neighborhood schools, poor students would cluster in the county’s eastern half while students from more affluent families would be concentrated in Wake’s western side.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/education/story/168903.html

It’s official – Tedesco seals new school board majority
John Tedesco was elected to the Wake County school board today, providing the swing vote to form a new majority that’s expected to move the state’s largest school system away from busing for diversity and toward neighborhood schools. Tedesco will join three new board members elected last month and current board member Ron Margiotta to form a majority on the nine-member board that will alter the direction of the 140,000-student school system.
www.newsobserver.com/news/counties/wake_county/story/173417.html

Switch is sudden on Wake school board
A new majority on the Wake County School Board took immediate control at a tension-filled first meeting Tuesday, installing its members as top officers and taking the first steps toward ending the county’s diversity policy. Before a packed, mostly hostile audience, the new group made ad hoc additions of major items to the agenda. That drew heated public comment from those opposed to the newcomers’ actions, a shocked reaction from members who now make up the board minority and a walkout by a group representing Wake teachers. After the meeting, new member John Tedesco said: “This is just the tip of the iceberg; we still have a lot more we want to get done.” New members said they wanted to take quick action on the campaign promises.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/221246.html

School board’s rush to action prompts questions
Chris Bridges was part of a group of teachers and others who walked out of the Wake County School Board meeting Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the veteran Wake County bus driver said he was still shell-shocked from what he witnessed. “The piece that really bothered me was how the other board members didn’t know and it was not on the agenda and how it was just slipped in,” he said. “I felt like it was dirty. I felt like, ‘what have you done to us?'” Eight new agenda items added by the new school board majority, ranging from ending mandatory year-round assignment to ending early release Wednesdays, caught other board members by surprise as well. John Tedesco defended the decision Wednesday, saying he and his newly elected colleagues had “no choice” in how they conducted the meeting.
http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news|Sports|Lifestyles/story/45271/school-boards-rush-to-action-prompts-questions

NC’s battle against school resegregation begins, week of December 3-9, 2009
On Dec. 1st, the 54th anniversary of civil rights icon Rosa Parks’ historic refusal to accept racial segregation as the law of the land, North Carolina saw the opening salvos in a war over education where resegregation is front and center. In Wayne County, the school board there found itself the target of a Title VI federal civil rights complaint filed by the NC NAACP, alleging that the Wayne County Public School Board engaged in policies ”that have resulted in the creation of extreme resegregation and a district of apartheid education.” It has formally petitioned the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Dept. of Education, and the US Dept. of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (CRD) to investigate. And in Wake County, where four new anti-student diversity school board members were sworn-in Tuesday amid stated gratitude to the Republican Party for their election victories, the conservative-led body moved immediately not only to wrest away the chairmanship, but also to impose an extensive reform agenda that will end busing for diversity during the 2010-11 school year. The sentiment flew in the face of a threat from the NCNAACP, which had previously warned the new Wake school board that it would be subject to a lawsuit if its new policies resegregated schools and denied black children their constitutional right to a ”sound, basic education.”
http://www.wilmingtonjournal.com/news/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=100312&sID=4

Wake School Board fielding concerns
Three days after the first meeting for the new Wake County School Board, criticism is still raining down on new board members who moved quickly to act on campaign promises.
Tuesday was the new board majority’s first meeting. “I think it was a little more of shock and awe initially,” new Wake County board member John Tedesco said.
The new board voted to review their attorney, review the diversity policy and stop spending money to build a new high school. Many of the agenda items were last minute add-ons.
Since that contentious first meeting, the new board majority has taken a beating. They have been accused of ramrodding an agenda and breaking open meeting rules.
http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/local&id=7154157

Margiotta aims to shape Wake schools
Ron Margiotta came to the Triangle nearly a decade ago to retire, not to become the school board leader of the state’s largest school district. But now Margiotta, 71, finds himself heading a new ruling coalition in Wake County that’s already put on the table initial plans to go to neighborhood schools and end mandatory year-round schools. It’s a major change for Margiotta, who for the past six years had been the board’s lone critic of using forced busing to promote socioeconomic diversity.
http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/story/229069.html

Groups plan protest at next Wake schools meeting
Two groups have filed notice with the Raleigh Police Department that they plan to protest at the next meeting of the Wake County Board of Education. The school board is due to meet Tuesday at 3 p.m. at 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh. The two groups – Americans for Prosperity and Bigger Picture 4 Wake – are on opposite sides of the heated issue about how Wake County students are assigned to schools. On the application for a protest permit, each group indicated it expected a turnout of about 50 people.
http://www.wral.com/news/education/story/6591132/

Wake school board: New lawyer, big fight
The Wake County school board’s choice of a prominent Republican lawyer to take a hard look at the school system’s legal contracts and fees has ignited a wrangle about whether the move amounts to overt partisanship or just sound government practice. Margiotta, who replaced Hill as board chairman, said it’s simple prudence to use a highly qualified attorney to take a look at the board’s relationship with its longtime advisers, the Raleigh firm of Tharrington Smith. One of the firm’s founders is high-profile defense attorney Wade Smith, a Democrat. The change could also prepare the panel for threatened legal action based on the promised policy changes, Margiotta said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local_state/story/239964.html

New school board majority continues to reshape district
More than 70 people have signed up to speak at today’s board meeting (Wake County, North Carolina), with most of the speakers urging the new board to slow down.
“Please don’t yank our kids around based on some twisted campaign slogans you made,” said Raleigh parent Geoff Hazel. Many of the speakers who criticized the new board are either students at magnet schools or are parents of children who attend them. These people fear that the new board’s focus on neighborhood schools will negatively impact the magnet program. “Diversity is not a policy of convenience,” said George Ramsay, president of the student body at Enloe High School in Raleigh, a magnet school. “Diversity is a policy of necessity.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/education/story/242049.html

Vote eases suburban concerns
Suburban school interests in metro Omaha, Nebraska won a victory Thursday in the struggle over how to improve opportunities for poor urban students without harming the opportunities suburban districts offer their own students. The Douglas-Sarpy County learning community coordinating council voted 13-3 to allow school districts to transfer their own students between buildings before accepting those transferring from other districts under next year’s legally mandated open-enrollment plan.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20091002/NEWS01/710029884

Two Myers Park schools may duck changes
But options still open with Nov. 10 school board vote five weeks away
Two popular Myers Park schools – Myers Park High and Myers Park Traditional Elementary – in Charlotte, NC may be fending off proposed changes that have generated a firestorm of community activism. A proposal to put the Myers Park elementary magnet students into the smaller Eastover Elementary building no longer appears practical, Area Superintendent Joel Ritchie said Monday.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/education/story/987041.html

Parents, teachers tout racial diversity, socio-economic mix as CMS board studies boundaries
Preserving diversity was a running theme as parents, teachers and students affected by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools latest boundary proposals weighed in at last night’s school board meeting. “It’s a fact of demographics that neighborhood schools are tending toward less diversity in this community,” Scheer says. “And I accept that’s not particularly important for some folks, that’s fine. For my wife and I though, it is. And for every parent at Elizabeth Traditional it certainly is.”
http://www.wfae.org/wfae/1_87_316.cfm?action=display&id=5516

Wake schools could imitate history of Charlotte schools
Newly elected members of the Wake County Board of Education have vowed to make changes to socioeconomic policies and busing practices – changes like those already experienced Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC schools. Charlotte Mecklenberg adopted some policies to replace busing. For example, low-performing schools are placed in an achievement zone and given special attention to improve performance. Leake said that while money for low-performing schools has been increased over the years, the playing field still isn’t even for minority schools. “The funds may be there, but the quality of the principal, the quality of the staff is still lagging,” she said.
http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6220711/

District 1: Summerskill wants a more diverse CMS
Gail Summerskill has spent 35 years as an educator, but it wasn’t until she worked on the Obama campaign that she decided to run for office. The first-time candidate isn’t timid: She’s going head-on against the “neighborhood schools” theme that’s popular with north suburban voters. She says the nostalgic vision of schools where kids stay together from kindergarten through high school is out of step with a technological, diverse society and an influx of newcomers that forces Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina to keep pace. “It is not the reality of 2009,” she says. “From an early age, the notion of neighborhood and community is a global one for our children.”
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/1006802.html

Vote near in hard-fought school battle
Affected families keep pressure on school board as it prepares to make tough choices on student assignment Tuesday. Myers Park High could lose most of its International Baccalaureate magnet students next year in a move to shrink the 3,000-student school, three board members say. And Superintendent Peter Gorman’s plan to turn Dilworth Elementary into a neighborhood school to relieve crowding at Eastover Elementary also appears poised to pass, those members say. Over the last three months, hundreds of parents, students, homeowners and faculty have packed meetings and bombarded school board members with calls and e-mails, weighing in on a series of proposals to shuffle school assignments for 2010-11. In some cases, differences of opinion have created bitter rifts among friends and neighbors.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/breaking/story/1045513.html

CMS board still split on assignment plans
But members agree that they won’t move students from Harding to help fill hard-hit East Meck.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board was still divided Tuesday over how to relieve crowding at Eastover Elementary and whether East Mecklenburg High needs more students next year. With its Nov. 10 vote just two weeks away, the board’s only clear consensus: Members aren’t willing to raid Harding High to provide East Meck more students. Parents hammered district officials for proposing to move math/science magnet students from Harding, which is much smaller than East will be next year.
On Tuesday, officials offered new information about how hard-hit East Meck will be when a new high school opens next year in Mint Hill. The latest staff plan would let seniors stay in 2010-11 and keep their bus transportation, even if they’re in neighborhoods that have been rezoned for other schools. That could bring enrollment to about 1,600, compared with previous estimates of 1,400 to 1,500. Current enrollment is about 2,100.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/education/story/1023862.html

Five newbies on CMS board have tough work ahead on boundaries
The CMS board has some heavy issues to tackle in the months ahead. Top of mind for everyone is the way the school system handles student assignment and draws boundaries. Although the school board is a non-partisan body, board members’ political affiliations often influence decision-making. The new board will be composed of two independents, three Republicans and four Democrats.
http://www.wfae.org/wfae/1_87_316.cfm?action=display&id=5582

Scores up for black, poor teens in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
In a striking change from 2004, those students now outperform counterparts in Wake, across N.C. It’s a dramatic turnaround from five years ago, when statewide comparisons for high-school students sparked local embarrassment and statewide censure, and a judge accused CMS of “academic genocide.” But an Observer investigation found that two schools that saw huge gains on pass rates also saw participation in required classes plunge. Gorman has acknowledged that having weak students postpone those classes for a full year could create a temporary surge in scores. “You want to make sure these aren’t blips,” she said. “If these trends continue, it’s more significant.”
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/education/story/1038139.html

Proposed school boundaries would return Seattle to a neighborhood-based system
Seattle Public Schools proposed new boundaries for all its schools Tuesday, marking a return to a neighborhood-based assignment system that will place students in a school close to home. Over the past few decades, the school district has had a variety of assignment plans with differing goals – from forced busing in the late 1970s meant to racially integrate schools to the current plan, which allows students to apply to any school but doesn’t guarantee them a spot at any particular one. With the new plan, students will be assigned to schools based on their address, with some options – but no guarantee – of going elsewhere.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010012165_webboundaries07m.html

Seattle schools announce revised list of boundaries
After listening to feedback from thousands of parents, the Seattle School Board released a revised list of school boundaries Tuesday afternoon. The revised list came after the school board took suggestions on the issue after many parents were upset by the assignment maps released Oct. 6 that meant some students would have to switch schools.
http://www.kirotv.com/news/21510561/detail.html

Seattle schools return to neighborhood-based system
Seattle Public Schools has officially returned to a neighborhood-based system of assigning students to schools, similar to one it abandoned about 30 years ago in the name of racial integration. By a unanimous vote at 11 p.m. Wednesday, the School Board approved a new set of boundaries for most of the district’s schools that will determine where students will be guaranteed a spot. The boundaries will be phased in starting next fall with students in kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades. Students still can apply to attend any school but won’t get in if those who live within the school’s boundaries fill it up first. The district also won’t provide as much bus transportation – even to alternative schools, which won’t have boundaries, and have been all-city draws.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010303704_webboundary18m.html

Plano school boundary zone debate highlights question of fostering diversity vs. neighborhood campuses
A debate over school attendance zone changes in Plano, Texas is highlighting the struggle between fostering diversity and allowing children to attend their neighborhood schools. Plano school officials in recent weeks have proposed new attendance zones on the district’s east side to account for enrollment growth and two new schools there. But some parents are angry, saying some of the plans under consideration will segregate rich from poor, the haves from the have-nots.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/plano/stories/101009dnmetplanoalign.3cc0c9b.html

Diversity at core of Plano ISD school boundary debate
At the center of a heated debate over school boundaries in Plano is the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in schools. Several initial proposals for east side schools would split the attendance zones along socioeconomic lines for two high schools, which serve ninth and 10th grades. One side would have 10 of its 11 feeder schools receiving Title I funding because of their high percentage of low-income students. The other side, which includes nine schools in far East Plano and Murphy, would have no Title I schools. After community outcry, the district proposed other attendance zones that had more of a mix of low-income and middle-class neighborhoods. But those would have to be applied districtwide and would require busing some students farther to school.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-studentdiversity_17met.ART0.State.Edition1.4b78025.html

Collin ISDs find redrawing attendance zones is thankless task
Efforts to redraw school attendance zones in Plano have fueled a furor that has shifted with the prevailing wind. First, some parents blasted district officials for drawing lines they said segregated rich from poor. Others complained their children wouldn’t be able to attend their neighborhood school. When administrators responded by redrawing the lines, a new set of perturbed parents emerged and assailed school leaders. While the debate in Plano this fall has been especially contentious, these high-drama episodes play out almost every year. And one thing is inevitable: When the boundaries are finalized, someone goes home unhappy. For evidence, look no farther than Collin County, where the population has skyrocketed and districts such as Frisco have opened up to six new schools a year to keep up with a steady surge in enrollment.
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/collin/plano/stories/DN-plboundaries_07met.ART0.State.Edition1.4bc41fa.html

Diversity debate in Burlington, Vermont schools
Some Burlington parents say their kids are losing out, because the schools are not diverse enough. They’re pushing the school board to focus on diversity when hiring teachers. They say the teaching staff in Burlington does not reflect the growing diversity of the student body. About 25 percent of students are non-white, while only 3 percent of teachers are. “They aren’t presented with alternative models who they see in positions of authority who they are required to defer to,” says parent Sherwood Smith.
http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=11302723

Diversity lagging at other schools
Not every school in Charleston, SC that opened a partial magnet program this year saw as much success as Haut Gap Middle in increasing student diversity. Chicora School of Communications in North Charleston and downtown Memminger Elementary, both predominantly black schools, also became partial magnet schools but chose to offer their themed programs to the entire student body. Neither did as well as Haut Gap on Johns Island or downtown Mitchell Elementary in attracting white students.
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/oct/13/diversity-lagging-at-other-schools/

Parents see split siblings, longer commute in new school plan
When Fiona Preedy and her husband picked West Seattle’s Schmitz Park Elementary for their 8-year-old son, Aidan, she never imagined 3-year-old Rowan might not be able to follow him to Schmitz. Though many parents are finding the proposed student assignment plan gives their child a reassuring and predictable school to go to, some parents are struggling with attendance-area boundaries that may send their younger child to a different elementary school from older children.
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/411092_assign14.html

Segregation’s legacy still impacts local schools
Though the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down racial segregation in public schools in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Terrebonne, Louisiana’s schools still divided students according to their skin color. The system is still bound by the federal order that resulted from the desegregation lawsuit, school officials said. And that could dictate where any new schools could be built, as well as which neighborhoods their students come from. However, The Courier could not verify that a federal judge is still charged with enforcing the provisions of the order in the Redman suit. Unlike some districts under the supervision of a federal court, Terrebonne does not send regular numbers and statistics on student and faculty racial makeup to a court,
http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20091014/ARTICLES/910149950?Title=Segregation-s-legacy-still-impacts-schools

Frisco ISD slows rezoning
At the regular meeting October meeting of the FISD Board of Trustees in California, members were presented with draft zones for Purefoy Elementary School, Cobb Middle School and Lone Star High School scheduled to open in the 2010-2011 school year. As staff develops the proposed plans, they take into consideration issues of student stability, effective utilization of space, proximity to the school, diversity of the student body and unity in the community. No one factor is more important than another in this process of formulating zones. As FISD grows larger, fewer schools are impacted by rezoning. When making boundary decisions, the district looks at what zones will hold for the longest period of time.
http://www.scntx.com/articles/2009/10/15/frisco_enterprise/news/138.txt

End of desegregation decree spurs questions about bilingual education
MALDEF is holding a closed door meeting with community activists this Saturday to quell anxiety about CPS’ (Chicago Public Schools) obligation to bilingual education, post the federal desegregation consent decree. The desegregation decree, lifted last month, included a provision that required the district to provide services to English Language Learners. Ricardo Meza, regional counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), says he received e-mails from several people worried about what the end of the decree will mean. His message is that state law still requires CPS to provide the services, yet he acknowledges that getting them to do so can be tricky.
http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/index.php/entry/417

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants a settlement for Pulaski County schools soon.
If the Little Rock School District continues to drag its feet to get more money out of the final desegregation settlement, all three county school districts may find the state’s generous offer of financial support withdrawn, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told Jacksonville Rotarians on Monday. Without going into details, he also said that he favors a standalone Jacksonville school district. But without an agreement on the money, U.S. District Judge Brian Miller could declare the two remaining districts – Pulaski County Special School District and North Little Rock – unitary, without requiring the state to continue for a time desegregation funding, according to McDaniel.
http://www.arkansasleader.com/2009/10/top-story-ag-end-school-suit.html

Seattle School Board candidates talk about equity
This election season, with so much money pouring into the King County executive race and the media attention given to the Seattle mayor’s race, School Board races have received far fewer eyes. But with a new student assignment plan, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s five-year strategic plan starting to take off and a $34 million budget gap, this election is as important as ever for the board.
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/411401_board22.html

Hearings scheduled in desegregation case
Hearings scheduled for January in federal court are the next step toward ending the long-running desegregation case involving three Pulaski County school districts, a state panel heard today. “We’re in litigation mode, getting ready for trial,” Deputy Attorney General Scott Richardson told the Arkansas Public School Desegregation Lawsuit Resolution Task Force. Richardson said U.S. District Court Judge Brian Miller has set a Jan. 11 date to consider the status of the North Little Rock School District and a Jan. 25 date to consider the Pulaski County School District.
http://arkansasnews.com/2009/10/22/hearings-scheduled-in-desegregation-case/

Jefferson schools desegregation task force holds public meetings
The Jefferson Parish public school system’s desegregation task force committee is holding a series of meetings over the next few weeks to discuss the status of the district’s three-year desegregation process. The meetings, which will be held at seven schools across the parish, will give parents and community members the opportunity to ask questions and get updates on the desegregation lawsuit that has been guiding the district over the past year and a half, according to Margie Zeno, the desegregation task force leader. Gideon Carter, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the suit will be in attendance, as well as central office staff members.
http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2009/10/jefferson_schools_desegregatio.html

CPS magnet plan must keep racial diversity
For decades, Chicago has maintained an island of racially integrated schools in a sea of segregated ones. And this isn’t just any old island. Chicago’s integrated schools, primarily its magnet and selective enrollment schools, are among the very best in the city.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/1879996,CST-EDT-edit12a.article

Chicago changes criteria for admission to magnet, selective schools
In the wake of a federal order placing race off-limits as a key admissions criterion to the city’s most competitive schools, the Chicago Public Schools will use a battery of socioeconomic factors to distribute the coveted spots – a strategy officials hope will maintain racial integration while enhancing economic integration. It is unclear what the impact of the new policy will be. The district is only putting it in place for a year, after which officials will assess the results. Skeptics long have been cynical about moves from racial to socioeconomic integration, pointing to other districts where schools became more segregated after the lifting of a federal order to racially integrate, such as in San Francisco, Denver and Norfolk, Va. They think Chicago’s plan will be no different.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-magnet-schools-link,0,6811461.story

Q&A with Richard Kahlenberg, consultant on magnet school admissions
Anticipating the district’s release from its long-standing desegregation consent decree, Chicago Public School officials brought in Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, in 2008 to begin crafting a new plan for admitting students to magnet and selective schools. The new plan gives siblings preference for open seats in magnet schools. Half of the remaining seats go to neighborhood children, and the rest are allocated based on socioeconomic factors in a student’s neighborhood, such as income, adult education levels, single-parent households, home ownership rates and the number of non-English speaking households. Kahlenberg notes that 70 other school districts across the country consider socioeconomic factors in seeking to create diversity.
http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/index.php/entry/451

Not beyond race
After years of active involvement in assuring compliance with the consent decree governing desegregation efforts in Chicago Public Schools, we are concerned by the Tribune’s assessment that the new post-decree plan for admissions to the city’s attractive magnet and selective enrollment schools will maintain a diverse student body (“Beyond race,” editorial, Nov. 12). While we credit CPS for insisting that racial diversity remains one of its fundamental goals, we are not confident that the proposed admissions plan will meet this laudable aspiration. In seeking racial diversity, CPS has limited itself by refusing to use race as a factor in the admissions process. The school district incorrectly interprets a recent Supreme Court decision as barring any consideration of race in K-12 school admissions.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-1128vplettersbriefs0nov28,0,3726758.story

New CPS admissions policy blasted as racist
Black aldermen say it gives elite seats from blacks to whites
A new admissions policy for elite Chicago public schools is little more than a plot to free up seats for middle-class white families tired of paying private school tuition, black aldermen charged Monday. The new policy followed a federal judge’s decision to void a 1980 desegregation consent decree that let CPS use race to decide admissions to the coveted schools. Now, census tracts, neighborhood income levels and other socio-economic indicators will be determining factors.
http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/1913100,CST-NWS-elite01.article

Chicago Public Schools may shake up magnet schools with new policy
Plan could reduce number of spots for non-sibling, out-of-neighborhood applicants

The number of outside applicants being offered a seat would drop at nearly every Chicago magnet school next year under new admissions criteria to be voted on Wednesday, according to a Tribune analysis. By giving greater priority to siblings of current students and applicants who live within 1-1/2 miles of each magnet school, the policy could reduce the offers extended to other applicants by about 14 percent overall. Some observers say the policy will undermine the essence of magnets, which were created nearly 30 years ago to integrate schools in the nation’s most segregated large city. By raising the number of students from the neighborhood who can attend, magnets once meant for all public school kids would increasingly become de facto neighborhood schools.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/chi-magnet-school-formula-14-dec14,0,2217091,print.story

Beebe: Charter school’s impact on desegregation worth studying
Gov. Mike Beebe on today expressed support for the state Board of Education’s decision to delay action on an application for a new charter school in Little Rock because of concerns about the school’s potential impact on desegregation efforts. The nine-member board voted Monday to wait until December to act on an application for the proposed Little Rock Urban Collegiate Public Charter School for Young Men. An attorney for the Little Rock School District argued that granting the application could adversely affect efforts by Pulaski County’s three public school districts to comply with the terms of a settlement in a long-running desegregation case.
http://arkansasnews.com/2009/11/10/beebe-charter-school%E2%80%99s-impact-on-desegregation-worth-studying/

School board member defends rezoning vote
One of the current Nashville Metro School Board members testified in federal court Tuesday and defended his vote to rezone schools. Over the last week or so, there has been much speculation about what certain Metro School Board members were thinking when they rezoned Metro schools. The plaintiffs feel there was a racist motive behind the plan.
http://www.wsmv.com/news/21577123/detail.html

Wake school’s new projections show slower growth
Wake County’s projected growth is now expected to be around 4,000 new students a year, half the amount of what had been anticipated just a few years ago.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/counties/wake_county/story/184473.html

Final middle school redistricting meeting Tuesday
The last of three forums to discuss middle school redistricting in New Hanover County, North Carolina takes place Tuesday night. The school board’s decision comes down to creating diversity or keeping kids close to home. One school board member says she wants to make sure parents on both sides of the redistricting proposals have their say. Tuesday, the final forum for redistricting takes place at Williston Middle School where officials expect a large turnout for those in favor of school busing for socioeconomic diversity. But school board member Janice Cavanaugh says she wants those who support neighborhood schools to make their voices heard as well. “I really believe that a child should go to a school as close to their home as possible,” she said.
http://www.wwaytv3.com/node/19012/print

Houston schools continue to abide with 1960s court order
More than 40 years after a lawsuit was filed against the Houston County Board of Education (Georgia) to expedite its desegregation efforts, the school board still is under a court order to consider racial demographics when creating school zones. Whether the county actually was subject to a court order recently became a matter of debate after discussion of the order elicited a strong response from parents at the school board’s zoning meeting last month. In addition, an erroneous report stating Houston never had been under litigation to desegregate further confused parents who sought court documentation.
http://www.macon.com/197/story/910787.html

Promises to court unfulfilled
In 1996, Orange County school leaders struck a bargain with a federal judge that allowed them to stop busing white students into some predominantly black schools. The deal, part of a decades-long desegregation case against the school district, was designed to support the idea of neighborhood schools while creating a safety net to protect some black schools from being neglected. More than 13 years later, some key commitments remain unfulfilled, according to a review of more than 1,000 pages of school-district documents and follow-up interviews by the Orlando Sentinel. When Orange school leaders find themselves before a judge, they will have to explain this and other lapses.
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-11-01/news/0910310127_1_desegregation-order-school-board-school-leaders

School board holds off on unitary talks
Pitt County, North Carolina’s Board of Education decided Monday to hold off on discussions regarding the system’s move toward a unitary school system until senior staff has a chance to assess the district’s status. The board held a closed-session meeting with attorneys to discuss a recent mediation agreement reached between the school system, the Greenville Parent Association and the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children. In addition to requiring more community input in the district’s upcoming student reassignment, the agreement also states the Pitt County public school system must achieve unitary status by December 2012.
http://www.reflector.com/news/school-board-holds-off-on-unitary-talks-952437.html

Student assignment matrix is unveiled
Pitt County’s Board of Education earlier this week got its first look at the system’s newest student assignment matrix, a tool officials say is vital for upcoming student reassignment discussions. The matrix is a breakdown of capacity, socio-economic status and academic standing for each of the district’s schools. The document is reviewed by the board each November as part of a requirement added to the school attendance area policy in September 2007. When reassigning students, Reep said that the board will try to avoid creating schools that have higher than a 60 percent free and reduced lunch rate, but geography sometimes prevents them from doing so.
http://www.reflector.com/news/student-assignment-matrix-is-unveiled-964677.html

Schools may have to rethink criteria for assigning
Pitt County’s Board of Education may have to reconsider a portion of its criteria for assigning students based on correspondence earlier this year between the United State Department of Agriculture and state education officials. “Student assignment is a local education program, and is not authorized under a federal or state education program,” Long wrote. “Therefore, local educational agencies cannot release and/or use individual children’s eligibility status or other information related to applications for free and reduced price school meals unless there is prior notice and consent from the child’s parent or guardian.” The issue was brought to light in Pitt County during a recent school board meeting when Superintendent Beverly Reep said the district was asking DPI and the State Board of Education to assist them in resolving student assignment issues. She noted that the federal courts have approved the district’s use of socio-economic status in assigning students, but officials may have to look at other ways to measure it. The use of socio-economic status has received the blessing of the courts and the federal Office of Civil Rights.
http://www.reflector.com/news/schools-may-have-to-rethink-criteria-for-assigning-997345.html

Judge rules on school redistricting lawsuit
Lawsuit claiming the Pitt County School System’s (North Carolina) redistricting plan in 2006 -2007 was unconstitutional because it was based on race -is over. Today Chief District Court Judge Malcolm Howard accepted a compromise deal that closed the suit. In the deal the school system agrees to involve the parents and their lawyers with the next student assignment plan. In exchange the parents agreed to withdraw the suit and allow the court to approve the redistricting plan. In something neither party asked for, the judge wants the school system to come up with a reason to lift the 1970 court supervised desegregation order that is still in place.
http://www2.wnct.com/nct/news/local/article/judge_rules_on_school_redistricting_law_suit/71259/

Boston still vexed by school busing
More than three decades after a federal court order forced Boston to desegregate schools by busing black students to white neighborhoods and whites to black areas, the birthplace of public education is still fighting the battle. Proposals to replace the 20-year-old school-assignment zones with five smaller ones fizzled twice this decade, most recently in June. And while the city secured federal funding this month to take another stab at overhauling its busing system, the issue remains a political hot potato that is not among the talking points of either mayoral candidate.
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/01/boston-still-vexed-by-school-busing/

Voters in Montclair favor appointed school board to ensure diversity
For the fifth time in 46 years, Montclair voters said “no” to a movement to elect school board members instead of having them appointed by the mayor. Montclair remains one of 20 school districts in the state with a mayor-appointed Board of Education, according to the New Jersey School Board Association. Appointed board supporters say it preserves the diversity of board members and precludes special-interest candidates from getting elected. Proponents of an elected board say it would have ensured that board members are responsive to the concerns of residents and parents and made budgets more transparent.
http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2009/11/voters_in_montclair_favor_appo.html

Maintaining magnet schools
An outside consulting group has proposed methods to continue to integrate Montclair’s (New Jersey) schools, without considering a student’s race when assigning them to schools, to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity has been consulting for free with the all-volunteer School Integration Task Force, and the Montclair School District to evaluate Montclair’s magnet school placements and recommend possible changes to how the district assigns students to its elementary schools. “Race is something we could still look at in placement, but we haven’t needed to use race as a factor in the last two years. We’re looking at the other criteria first,” Felice Harrison, Montclair School District’s director of School/Community Relations, told The Times. To comply with the judicial decision, the task force suggests the Montclair School District use zones, based on the socioeconomic and racial demographics of a student’s neighborhood, instead of a student’s race when achieving diversity.
http://www.montclairtimes.com/NC/0/3341.html

Student rezoning case goes to trial today
Eleven years after winning release from desegregation decrees, Nashville’s school officials are being dragged back into federal court beginning today to face accusations they’re discriminating against black children. The issue is whether race was a consideration in the student assignment plan that went into effect this school year, and much of the city’s white officialdom is on trial. Did school board chairman David Fox openly advocate segregation in community meetings? Did he say, as the plaintiffs’ attorneys allege, that we should “put African American students back in north Nashville where they live?”
http://blogs.nashvillescene.com/pitw/2009/11/student_rezoning_case_goes_to.php

Testimony supports Nashville schools rezoning
Consultant says diversity rises because of plan

Metro’s new school rezoning plan does positive things for diversity in the school system, an independent school consultant said Thursday. Milan Mueller, president and founder of the San Diego, Calif.-based Omega Group, testified as part of a federal lawsuit over the student reassignment plan. In the lawsuit, opponents claim the plan resegregates the city’s schools. Mueller’s company analyzes demographics and handles mapping jobs for school systems and law enforcement agencies. He said Thursday that Omega Group has helped more than 100 school districts draft zoning plans.
http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091120/NEWS03/911200356/1009/NEWS02/Testimony+supports+Nashville+schools+rezoning

Segregation is back in America’s public schools
“Segregation is like the elephant in the china shop. No one wants to admit it’s there,” said Jonathan Kozol, award-winning writer, educator and activist. “Yet America’s public schools are more segregated today than they were when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.” According to Kozol, the educational impact of a test-driven anxiety-ridden system of education means that the poorest children are being trained to think predictably and to regurgitate information they’ve learned by rote, while children of the privileged are being trained to think critically and to ask discerning questions. One group is learning to function with authority, and the other is being trained to regurgitate what they are told by those in authority. In a democracy, this has huge ramifications.
http://www.ric.edu/whatsnews/details.php?News_ID=652

NAACP wants Tangipahoa’s supt. of schools to step down
The president of the Tangipahoa (Louisiana) NAACP is calling for the parish school superintendent to resign. “I’m asking him to resign as superintendent of schools for Tangipahoa Parish,” Morris told Eyewitness News Wednesday. “The main reason is the fact that our schools continue to plummet under his administration,” Morris added. “Although he’s claiming they’re coming up a little bit, we don’t feel like they’re coming up enough.”
http://www.wwltv.com/news/NAACP-wants-Tangipahoas-Supt-of-Schools-to-step-down-69230472.html

Challenges of the Supreme Court’s desegregation ruling
The Jefferson County Board of Education, near Louisville, Ky., decided to drop the use of an individual student’s race in determining school assignments. The move came after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in July that doing so without a court order is an unconstitutional violation of students’ rights to equal protection. The decision does not immediately affect the estimated 400 school districts nationwide currently under court desegregation orders. However, many of these schools are currently seeking “unitary status,” a release from their court order that indicates they have removed all past vestiges of discrimination. As soon as these court orders are removed, they too would have to change their plans to meet the court’s ruling.
http://www.stnonline.com/resources/18-government/1421-challenges-of-the-supreme-courts-desegregation-ruling

OC’s famous desegregation case finally gets its historical due, but one family feels left out
Much of the credit for restoring the case to its rightful perch in the country’s civil-rights struggles goes to Sandra Robbie, a Chapman University administrative assistant at the College of Educational Studies whose enthusiasm in retelling its story is matched only by her ambition to ensure the nation never forgets. Robbie and Sylvia Mendez, the daughter of Gonzalo who took the witness stand as a 9-year-old girl to argue for school desegregation, travel across the country to tell the Mendez family’s story to crowds ranging from elementary-school kids to graduate-school programs. The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is interested in exhibiting a display on the case. And a 30-minute documentary Robbie produced about the lawsuit, Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children (Para Todos los Ni√±os), won a local Emmy award in 2003.
http://www.ocweekly.com/2009-11-05/news/mendez-estrada-guzman-palomillo-ramirez-westminster-santa-ana-garden-grove-el-modeno-school-districts/

Columbus school lines to be redrawn
Changes in building assignments will affect thousands

Thousands of Ohio students – particularly those who live in Linden, the East Side and the South Side – would be assigned to different neighborhood schools next year under a proposal that the Columbus district plans to unveil this week. How the entire proposal would play out is unclear because about 45 percent of Columbus students don’t attend their assigned schools because of the district’s school-choice lottery. The roots of Columbus’ current school-assignment plan go back to the 1970s and court-ordered busing, said Steve Tankovich, the district official in charge of designing a new assignment plan. The practice of closing the door on the lottery process is new this year. Another twist in the school reassignment is that the merging of schools could allow the district to effectively erase the record of a poorly performing school.
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/11/08/reassign.ART_ART_11-08-09_B1_3NFJU56.html?sid=101

No deal in deseg lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays Jr. on Friday urged attorneys involved in Jackson-Madison County School’s (Tennessee) desegregation lawsuit to meet in order to resolve areas of disagreement.”If you don’t meet, you’re not going to resolve anything,” Mays said during a teleconference held Friday afternoon. The attorneys met and toured Jackson Central-Merry High School on Oct. 1, but they have not met since that time. They were supposed to meet to discuss possible solutions on the issue of student assignment in the schools.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20091114/NEWS01/911140308/1002/No+deal+in+deseg+lawsuit

More charter schools, fewer charter schools
President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, nontraditional liberals on education policy, want states to approve more charter schools. So it came to be last week that the Arkansas Board of Education got confronted by eight charter school applications and found its way to approve only one. That approval was merely of an expansion into Blytheville of the already existing charter for the stellar KIPP school of Helena. The state board may have been inclined to support the application, since there is a clear need for new tactics and strategies to reach inner-city male students. But the board got scared off for the time being by the lawyer for the Little Rock schools. He argued that a proliferation of charter schools in Little Rock could disturb the delicate balance of the district’s desegregation settlement and land the schools back in federal court, where they just spent a half-century.
http://arkansasnews.com/2009/11/15/more-charter-schools-fewer-charter-schools/

Charters and desegregation
Chris Heller, the attorney for the Little Rock School District who has told federal court that open-enrollment charter schools are threatening desegregation efforts in Pulaski County, today provided school board members and the superintendent with data his office has collected supporting his position. The information includes enrollment and test data from a student sample that suggests that most of the transfers to e-Stem and the Lisa Academy were already scoring proficient or advanced on benchmark exams in the LRSD.
http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2009/11/post_30.aspx

Judge orders hiring plan for school district
A judge has ordered the Tangipahoa Parish School Board to increase its hiring of black educators for administrative positions. Under the order by U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, the Hammond-based public school district must hire qualified blacks until 40 percent of school board positions are held by blacks. The NAACP pushed to reactivate a desegregation suit.
http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/judge-orders-hiring-plan-for-school-district-1.1589556

More choices, more bus rides
One thing is certain if the Omaha school board votes today to approve an overhaul of the district’s school choice plan: Transportation costs will go up. The Omaha proposal would overhaul the district’s own school choice plan. It would allow any child to apply to any school, including magnet schools with specialty programs. It also spells out where learning community students will have priority admission within OPS.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20091116/NEWS01/711169973/0/FRONTPAGE

More about the OPS plan
The goal of the learning community’s diversity plan is for 38 percent of the students in every classroom in the 11 districts to receive a free or reduced-price lunch. That would reflect the diversity of the metro area as a whole, as required by the law. When learning community students move into OPS, that 38 percent goal will determine what schools are available to them.
For its own intra-district movement plan, however, OPS proposes having 65 percent of the students in each classroom receive free or reduced-price meals, which would reflect the overall district. The OPS plan is independent of the learning community’s plan under the law.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20091116/NEWS01/711169969

Diversity plan gets mixed reviews
The final draft of a proposed two-county school diversity plan drew mixed reviews Thursday night from the body that must approve such a plan by year’s end. The plan, which would take effect next school year, is scheduled for approval Dec. 17 by the coordinating council of the learning community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties. An outspoken advocate for creating good neighborhood schools, Chambers said the plan’s system of magnet and focus schools with enhanced academics not open to all students would “institutionalize inequality.” The money spent on transportation would be better spent on improving schools where children.
http://www.omaha.com/article/20091204/NEWS01/712049904

New school board’s lack of diversity concern to all races
Although minority students are in the majority in Norwalk, the newly elected school board is nearly 90 percent white. Four officials will be sworn in to the nine-member board tonight, all of whom are white. Of the remaining five, only one – Migdalia Rivas, a Hispanic – is a minority. Two of the three black members on the board were not re-elected, and the third was not renominated by his party.
http://www.thehour.com/story/478186

Hartford threatens to cancel transportation contract for city’s magnet schools
More than 2,200 suburban students attending the city’s magnet schools could be forced to scramble for rides to school unless the state comes up with more money for transportation.
In another development in an ongoing dispute between the state and city about paying for the city’s magnet schools, Superintendent Steven J. Adamowski will recommend today that the transportation contract for magnet school students be canceled to help close a $3 million deficit.
The proposed level of funding, Adamowski said, means that the school system’s budget for transporting students to the city to maintain compliance with the Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation mandates would last only until mid-December.
http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-cancel-1117.artnov17,0,4780959.story

State says Hartford schools making progress on desegregation
The state Department of Education said Wednesday that it has made progress desegregating Hartford public schools, meeting an incremental requirement of a court order in the Sheff v. O’Neill ruling. But lawyers representing the Sheff plaintiffs said they will reserve judgment until they have had a chance to review the state’s numbers. State education leaders said that 27 percent of Hartford’s minority students now learn in racially diverse settings, largely thanks to the construction of 24 inter-district magnet schools built in Hartford and the region. The state was required to meet the 27 percent goal this year as part of a stipulated agreement in the Sheff decision. In the 1996 desegregation ruling, the state Supreme Court held that students in Hartford attended public schools that were racially, ethnically and economically isolated in violation of the state constitution.
http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-sheff-goal-met-1119.artnov19,0,2075537.story

Sheff plaintiffs file motion to have special master take over from state
The plaintiffs in the Sheff desegregation lawsuit are alleging that the state is out of compliance with the court-ordered agreement and are seeking to appoint a special master to take over its administration. In a motion filed in Superior Court Friday, attorneys representing the plaintiffs say the state has failed to reach a court-ordered benchmark of teaching 27 percent of the city’s minority students in a racially diverse setting this school year. The stipulation was part of a 2008 agreement between the plaintiffs and the state in the landmark Sheff decision. http://www.courant.com/news/breaking/hc-hartford-sheff-complaint1212.artdec12,0,6256003.story

Study: St. Louis Public School transfer students do better
A new study says black students in the St. Louis Public School district who transfer to county schools and remain there “far outperform” their neighborhood and magnet-school peers by the time they reach the 10th grade. The report, “Boundary Crossing for Diversity, Equity and Achievement: Inter-district School Desegregation and Educational Opportunity,” is the “first comprehensive study of the nation’s eight remaining interdistrict school desegregation programs,” according to the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York. The study suggests that desegregation programs have helped to close black-white achievement gaps
http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/the-grade/public-schools/2009/11/study-st-louis-public-school-transfer-students-do-better/

Making new plans: ending desegregation orders could mean new busing system
Change may be coming to Tucson Unified School District’s transportation system. Initial plans for what the district will do if a federal judge lifts the district’s nearly 30-year-old desegregation order suggest ending the order may mean an airline-like system of school bus hubs.
Before he would grant the district “unitary status,” an indication that the school has removed all signs of past racial discrimination, U.S. district Judge David C. Bury requested information on the district’s implementation of desegregation orders. The district has since filed a 500-page report and sought comments from the public on its “post-unitary” plans, including a new busing system. The formative plan presented to the public in advance of an official submission to the courts focuses on neighborhood schools with open enrollment and a focus on specialty programs to ensure diversity. The district would automatically assign students to a schools in their neighborhood if they are not attending magnet schools or “pipeline” schools, programs designed to allow students to continue studying a theme throughout their K-12 career. While students would be allowed to transfer to any school in the district, the administration would use a lottery for oversubscribed schools and drop race as a consideration.
http://www.stnonline.com/resources/government/related-government-articles/1423-making-new-plans-ending-desegregation-orders-could-mean-new-busing-system

Reaffirming the role of school integration in K-12 public education policy
A Conversation Among Policymakers, Advocates and Educators, convened by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ) at Harvard Law School (www.charleshamiltonhouston.org) with the goal of restoring a desegregation focus to U.S. education policy. Speakers include Ted Shaw, formerly of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President’s White House Domestic Policy Council; Gary Orfield, Co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA; and William Taylor, Chair of the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights. The Houston Institute also commissioned the research led by Professor Wells.
Among the most striking findings of the study – the sources of which include studies by other researchers, newspaper articles and court documents – is that suburban residents, educators, school officials and students grow to appreciate these programs more the longer they continue. In fact, many former opponents are now defending the programs against threats of curtailment, even when continuation would entail reduced funding.
http://www.tc.edu/news/article.htm?id=7233

JCPS to consider changes to student-assignment clusters
Jefferson County Public Schools is considering changes to two of its elementary school clusters to appease parents who are complaining about long bus rides resulting from the new student-assignment plan. Superintendent Sheldon Berman on Monday will present the pros and cons of subdividing two of its six clusters of elementary schools – creating smaller groups of schools that some board members hope could reduce ride time and distance. The idea is among several changes being enacted or considered in the wake of this year’s rocky start of the new student-assignment plan, which applied to kindergartners and first-graders this year. The integration plan takes into account the racial makeup, income levels and education status of
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20091120/NEWS0105/911210318/1008/NEWS01/JCPS+to+consider+changes+to+student-assignment+clusters

Push for charter schools sparks segregation concerns
With the promise of massive amounts of federal funds pressing a decision on whether the state should have charter schools, some legislators and education groups are urging the state to slow down. Alabama is in the hunt for its share of more than $4 billion in federal funds and the quest for that money has sparked a debate about charter schools that some say the state shouldn’t be having if the goal is rushing legislation through during the 2010 session. The re-segregation of schools has been one of the most voiced concerns when it comes to charter schools. And a new report from The Civil Rights Project at the University of California Los Angeles has enumerated those concerns. The project has made an ongoing study of charter schools and the lack of civil rights policy concerning them. The report, “Equity Overlooked: Charter Schools and Civil Rights Policies,” finds that charter schools can raise the danger of further escalating the re-segregation of public schools, a phenomenon that is already taking place in traditional public schools in the
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20091122/NEWS01/91122020/Push-for-charter-schools-sparks-segregation-concerns

Plan for museum at home where Little Rock Nine met
Museum planned for restored home where Little Rock Nine gathered during desegregation crisis. Every day before heading to Little Rock Central High School in the fall of 1957, nine black students gathered at Daisy and L.C. Bates’s home to prepare for the angry mob they faced as they integrated the all-white school.
http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/wireStory?id=9155991

Harvest dance bonds Wellesley’s METCO families together
Dancing to the tunes of DJ Paul Sinclair, a Boston parent who graciously volunteered his time, children and parents from all Wellesley elementary schools celebrated Saturday, Nov. 7, at the METCO Harvest Fest Dance at Bates School. The dance is an annual event that brings together Boston METCO families and their Wellesley Family Friends. A newly formed group, “Parents Working Together,” which includes parents from both the Boston and Wellesley communities, collaborated to make this event a success. METCO, Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc., is a state-funded, voluntary educational desegregation program, the largest and longest running such program in the country. Wellesley began its relationship with the METCO program in 1966 as one of the original seven founding districts. Today 37 communities participate in the program, welcoming approximately 3,300 students. The purpose of the METCO program is to provide quality integrated educational opportunities for urban and suburban students. The program also fosters a closer understanding and cooperation between urban and suburban parents and other citizens in the Metropolitan Boston area.
http://www.wickedlocal.com/wellesley/news/education/x441552630/Harvest-dance-bonds-Wellesleys-METCO-families-together

Black & White in Kentuckiana: Issues of race in schools, busing
Schools and race: How important is diversity in schools to you? Are we past the point where districts should force students to go to certain schools based on their ethnicity? Jefferson County Public Schools still buses students to schools to achieve overall diversity based on economics, parents, education and geography.”Its natural, now it’s like a natural thing; I have to ride that school bus in the morning,” says mother Velecia Hinnant. She says racial diversity is still an important issue for her. Housing trends are still very segregated in the city. She says the district should keep a plan in place to ensure a balance to make sure kids are exposed to differences.
http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Black-White-in-Kentuckiana-72793077.html

City school board has date in federal court
Dec. 2 discussion centers on unitary status

The Monroe City School Board (Louisiana) will appear before U.S. District Judge Robbie James on Dec. 2 to discuss taking steps toward unitary status, a move would loosen the federal government’s oversight of the district. Board members have expressed concern the district may not be ready for independence since only last year they were forced to sign a contract with the U.S. Justice Department that mandated equality among the district’s three high schools. Since the mid-1960s, the district, along with many others in Louisiana, has been under a federal desegregation order that governs student and teacher assignment as well as transportation within the district to prevent racially identifiable schools.
http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20091125/NEWS01/911250313

Educators: Busing, rezoning would help schools meet diversity guidelines
Of the 13 Jackson-Madison County Schools (Tennessee) monitored in a desegregation agreement, seven come close to meeting racial balance guidelines, but six schools fall short, according to a report from the school system. School officials must do their best to make most elementary schools and one high school reflect the racial makeup of the school district as part of the agreement in the system’s 46-year-old desegregation lawsuit.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20091127/NEWS01/911270306/1002/Educators-Busing-rezoning-would-help-schools-meet-diversity-guidelines

Board discusses school rezoning
The Jackson-Madison County School Board will hold a called meeting next week to continue discussion on the proposal to eliminate intermediate schools in the system. Its decision came after an hour-long discussion on the issue during Monday night’s work session school system’s 46-year-old desegregation lawsuit are supposed to have them by Dec. 4.
“The attorneys are wanting to look at how the proposal would affect racial balance, if it will make the schools more diverse or racially identifiable,” said Conder after the meeting.
Memphis attorney Richard Fields, who represents the plaintiffs in the desegregation lawsuit, attended Monday night’s work session and spoke about asbestos, textbooks and racial balance.
“All you have to do is draw the zone lines at plus or minus 15 percent,” said Fields to the board. “I don’t understand why this is taking so long.”
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20091201/NEWS01/912010312

Board to discuss busing plans
Whether to keep students in schools closer to home or bus them to achieve racial balance will be up for discussion during a Jackson-Madison County School Board called meeting Tuesday night.
Director of School Operations Buddy White presented two rezoning proposals to the board during its monthly meeting last week. The rezoning of students falls under student assignment, which is the last monitored issue in the system’s 46-year-old desegregation lawsuit.
Under the desegregation agreement, the school system’s 13 monitored schools must be brought within plus or minus 15 percent of the district-wide black enrollment by grade level.
The school system is 59.7 percent black and 34.5 percent white. In August, Mays granted the school system partial unitary status and noted that the system had made progress in removing racial disparities in the following monitored areas: faculty assignment, facilities, extracurricular activities and transportation.
http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20091206/NEWS01/912060311/1002

Williamsburg-James City County Schools Redistricting maps divide some neighborhoods
Williamsburg-James City County Schools (Virginia) redistricting is already leaving some communities divided. Proposed zoning options would split several neighborhoods in the district, which means students living in the same area could attend different elementary or middle schools next fall, after the opening of the new J. Blaine Blayton Elementary and Lois Hornsby Middle schools. Assistant Superintendent for Operations Bob Becker said this is the first draft of the proposed redistricting maps. He said parents will get to weigh in and School Board members will get to propose changes several times before the final maps are adopted next spring.
http://www.dailypress.com/news/williamsburg/dp-local_wjccredistricting_1128nov28,0,7778512.story

School choice shapes educational landscape
Time for a status report on all the different ways Milwaukee children can use public money to pay for their kindergarten through 12th grade education: Private school voucher program enrollment: Up almost 5% from a year ago, just as it has been up every year for more than a decade. City kids going to suburban public schools using the state’s “open enrollment” law: Up almost 11%, just as it has been up every year for about a decade. Enrollment in charter schools given permission to operate by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or Milwaukee’s City Hall: Up more than 19% and up substantially from a few years ago. Enrollment of minority students from the city into suburban schools using the state’s voluntary racial desegregation law, known as Chapter 220: Up almost 5%, although the long-term trend has been downward.
With all the controversy in recent months around whether to overhaul the way MPS is run, the half dozen other routes that Milwaukee children have for getting publicly funded education have been almost entirely out of the spotlight. But Milwaukee remains a place where the term “school choice” shapes the educational landscape in hugely important ways.
http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/77934557.html

Federal office considers plan to boost minority enrollment at Riverview
The federal Office for Civil Rights has responded to a plan to ensure Riverview Charter School complies with the Beaufort County School District’s 1970 desegregation agreement and meets minority enrollment targets by next fall. OCR officials said the recruitment plan, developed by representatives from Riverview and the school district, shows the school is taking appropriate steps to attract a diverse student body. “It clearly reflects a lot of careful thought and hard work,” an OCR statement said. “We think the plan will go a long way toward ensuring that Riverview meets the requirements of the amendment to the desegregation plan. Of course, it all comes down to implementation.”
http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/story/1053391.html

NAACP: City schools segregated
Wayne County Public Schools (North Carolina) is operating a school district that defies the U.S. Supreme Court’s mandate of desegregation, the state NAACP says.
http://www.newsargus.com/news/archives/2009/12/01/naacp_city_schools_segregated/

Number of white and Hispanic students now equal in Orange County Public Schools (Florida)
They both stand at 32%. Blacks (who are not necessarily African-American here) number 28%. But that’s the old way – the way we’re all used to – of looking at the breakdown of the district’s 175,000 pupils. The new federal requirements call for a breakdown by race and by ethnicity. When we look at it that way, it looks like this: White, 64%; Black, 28%; Hispanic, 32%; Non-Hispanic, 68%; and “Other,” 8%. Confusing? Yes. (Note: Now students pick a race AND an ethnicity, so they can be white and Hispanic or black and Hispanic. By the same token, they can also choose, for example, white and non-Hispanic or black and non-Hispanic. It depends on how they identify themselves.) But at its simplest, see the first line. All this makes me wonder a few things: Are the new reporting guidelines silly or necessary? And, considering the consent decree hanging over the district, do they render desegregation orders obsolete? Or, do the number reveal further inequities?
http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_education_edblog/2009/12/number-of-white-and-hispanic-students-now-equal-in-ocps.html

Judge Robbie James wants schools free of federal control
U.S. District Judge Robbie James wants local school districts to take steps toward unitary status, which would remove them from the control of a federal desegregation order. All districts in northeastern Louisiana not currently in talks with James regarding desegregation issues will be called to the court within the next two months to discuss the matter. Ouachita Parish Schools received notice today of its status conference with James in January. Monroe City Schools met with James in status conference on Wednesday.
http://www.thenewsstar.com/article/20091203/UPDATES01/91203018

Judge approves plan for Jefferson Parish’s east bank magnet schools
Hearing virtually no opposition, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt today approved the Jefferson Parish school system’s plans to turn Airline Park Elementary School in Metairie into East Jefferson’s second magnet elementary school for high-achieving students. Ruling on the school system’s continuing desegregation order, Engelhardt said he is satisfied that the conversion, along with the transfer of current Airline Park students to other conventional schools, will enhance the system’s efforts to achieve racial balance. “I think we’re on the right track with this plan,” Engelhardt said after hearing from the plaintiffs and the defendants in the Dandridge desegregation lawsuit.
http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2009/12/judge_approves_plan_for_jeffer.html

Orange Schools: Desegregation case close to settlement
Orange School Board lawyer says ‘conceptual’ plan is drafted

Orange County School Board (Florida) attorney Frank Kruppenbacher announced Tuesday night that district officials and plaintiffs have made significant progress toward ending a four-decade-old desegregation case. Kruppenbacher said he met with attorneys from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on Friday, and the two sides drafted a “conceptual” plan that would be submitted to a federal judge. He would not release any details until January. And representatives from the Defense Fund could not be reached for comment.
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-orange-desegregation-suit-120909-20091208,0,4603451,print.story

Board nears desegregation agreement
“We are seeing a light at the end of the long tunnel,” Parish Administrator Darwin Lazard told members of the news media Wednesday night after the meeting of the Evangeline Parish School Board. The School Board signed off on a proposed compromise agreement with the U.S. Justice Department and the original plaintiffs in the 40-year-old desegregation case. There are still two motions before the court. One by the Justice Department is asking the court to close Ville Platte High School after voters turned down on three occasions a bond issue to construct a new school facility. A second motion by the School Board is asking for partial unitary status in four green factors. The so-called green factors that must be approved by the federal court involve student assignment, teacher assignment, staff assignment, extra curricular activities, transportation and facilities. The board is asking for a partial unity status or clearance in all but facilities and student assignments.
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/78934607.html

Black parents angered at Chicago Public Schools admissions policy
CPS is no longer under a court consent decree that monitored desegregation. The district is now implementing a new admissions process relying on a complex mix of socioeconomic factors, rather than race as a factor in its top schools. The policy shift angers some African-American parents who fear their children will no longer get slots in these schools. http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=38697

New CPS admissions policy – separate and unequal
The Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Consent Decree of 1980 was designed to remedy a pattern of segregation based on race and ethnic origin within Chicago Public Schools. The Consent Decree was vacated in September, ’09. During a recent press conference, Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman stated that it is now unlawful to use race as a determining factor in school admissions. In a Nov. 28, 2009 letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune, Harvey Grossman, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Chicago (ACLU) indicated that CPS incorrectly interprets a recent Supreme Court decision as barring any consideration of race in K-12 school admissions. The CPS proposal is similar to models used in San Francisco; Charlotte, N.C.; and Cambridge, Mass. Each school district experienced less diversity after they implemented similar plans that used only socio-economic factors. It should be noted that the new proposal represents a significant reversal in CPS’ position regarding the use of race in admissions. Twice in recent years, the CPS board advocated the importance of maintaining race as a factor in the admissions process. In ’05, a blue-ribbon commission of educators and citizens examined the admissions policies at magnet schools, including gifted, classical and selective enrollment elementary and high schools, and made recommendations for the future. The commission concluded that “unless race continues to be a selection factor, there is a danger of losing diversity in some schools.” It is against this backdrop that CPS must revamp its admissions policies for magnet and selective enrollment schools in time for the 2010-2011 school year.
http://www.austinweeklynews.com/main.asp?SectionID=3&SubSectionID=3&ArticleID=2542

Abilene schools becoming ‘majority minority’ district
New reports from the Texas Education Agency confirm the trend that the Abilene Independent School District is increasingly becoming a “majority minority” district, with just over 50 percent of students representing races other than white. As the district evolves with more diversity and the state holds school districts responsible for students in every race and income level, AISD is continuously developing programs in attempts to reach them all with opportunities for educational success.
http://www.reporternews.com/news/2009/dec/12/as-aisd-changes-adapting-is-the-goal-youve-got-a/

Pennsylvania school systems consider redistricting
Franklin County’s two largest school districts both are looking to change attendance areas in coming years, but they are doing so in response to different needs. The Chambersburg Area School District must address an increasing student population, aging buildings and students’ diversity and educational needs, Chambersburg Assistant Superintendent Catherine Dusman said. The Waynesboro (Pa.) Area School District has to address overcrowding, Waynesboro Assistant Superintendent Evan Williams said.
http://www.herald-mail.com/?cmd=displaystory&story_id=235921&format=print

School districts may fuel new segregation
The splintering of the Jefferson County (Alabama) school system into smaller city districts may be fueling a new kind of segregation, dividing children along racial lines by virtue of municipal boundaries, a new study says. An article published in a journal of the American Bar Foundation uses Jefferson County as the case study in how the creation of new city school districts has “accelerated population sorting by race and class.” Author Erica Frankenberg, research and policy director of the Initiative on School Integration of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, used Census, educational and other data to show that, despite long-standing court orders to integrate schools, segregation hasn’t gone away since the 1960s; it has simply taken on a new form.
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/12/school_districts_may_fuel_new.html

Columbus alternative schools not as popular
Over the summer, officials from a group of Columbus alternative schools phoned parents whose children had left the district for charter schools to beg them to come back. Enrollment had been dwindling for several years at Mifflin, Franklin and Monroe middle schools, which all admit students citywide and only through the lottery process. At a time when Columbus City Schools were shutting buildings, low enrollment is a bull’s-eye. Most of Cincinnati’s magnet schools require interviews, auditions, test scores or other evaluations to gain admission unless a student is entering a school at the kindergarten level. So do several Cleveland schools of choice.
Harris said she has no immediate plans to end any other alternative programs. She said her focus is on alternative offerings that aren’t necessarily freestanding schools.
“The times change. The model we had 30 years ago might not be the appropriate model now,” she said.
http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/12/14/alternative.ART_ART_12-14-09_A1_0NG0629.html?sid=101

Ed Board OKs charter school in Little Rock despite segregation questions
The state Board of Education on Monday gave conditional approval to a proposed open-enrollment charter school for boys in Little Rock, despite arguments that the school would have a negative impact on desegregation efforts in Central Arkansas. The board approved a charter for Little Rock Urban Collegiate Public Charter School for Young Men on the condition that at least 80 per cent of new students each year qualify for free or reduce-priced meals and/or be performing at the basic level or below on the state benchmark exam. The board also said it would conduct a review of the school in one year.
http://arkansasnews.com/2009/12/14/ed-board-oks-charter-school-for-boys-in-lr/

Evangeline school pact issued
The Evangeline Parish School Board and the U.S. Justice Department have reached an agreement that could spare Ville Platte High School from closure and move the parish closer to ending its 40-year-old school desegregation case. The predominantly black Ville Platte High School has long been a sticking point in the case, with Justice Department attorneys arguing that the condition of the aging facility is not on a par with schools serving predominantly white student populations in the parish. A proposed agreement filed into the court record this week calls on the School Board to spend $3 million for renovations at Ville Platte High – money that would be in addition to the $3 million already spent at the school since 2004. The agreement also sets out a long list of requirements and goals that, if met, could bring an end to federal oversight of the school system.
http://www.2theadvocate.com/news/acadiana/79377517.html

Enrollment changes afoot
The Board of Education has set a March deadline for a long-sought change to San Francisco’s controversial public school assignment system so members can focus on other issues.
More than 600 people have filled out an online survey and hundreds swarmed public hearings in the past two months to give the board feedback before it changes the decade-old system.
“We have to vote in March,” board member Rachel Norton said. “There’s no perfect solution, but I think we will be able to up come with a system that’s better, and it will be good enough.”
The current system allows families to pick up to seven schools, but also bases admissions on a lottery that incorporates socio-economic factors, home language, prior academics and other aspects. This year, the district reported that 22 percent of families didn’t receive any of their choices. The system grew out of a former federal mandate, due to a lawsuit, to integrate schools without using race as a factor.
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Enrollment-changes-afoot-79376187.html

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.

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Additional Resources for School Integration

**NEW** Summaries on the “Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Education Policy” convening, November 13, 2009.
The links below summarize the convening that took place at Howard University School of Law.

**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.
Building on the work of Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling, this new interactive resource shows that small social preferences at the individual level can generate surprising patterns of segregation at the group level, and equally important, that the dynamic can be reversed to reduce segregation.

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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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.

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