Magazine article The American Conservative

Engineer No More

Magazine article The American Conservative

Engineer No More

Article excerpt

[JUSTICE]

One sign that Justices Roberts and Alito have brought some moderation to the Supreme Court came in arguments over the long debated question of "racial balance" in the schools. More than a half-century has passed since the Court ruled in Brown v. Board that skin color could not be a factor in school assignment. In the eyes of some, this was supposed to lead to equality in educational achievement between the races.

While that gap, extremely wide in the days of segregation, has narrowed considerably, it has certainly not vanished, and a cottage industry has developed to lament and ponder that fact. Meanwhile, racial balance in the schools has proved elusive-in great part because most people don't live in racially balanced neighborhoods and prefer to send their kids to nearby schools.

Forced busing was for a long time the remedy for this-though few besides social-engineering judges were enthusiastic. The theory that white kids' presence was required to raise the black level-Thomas Sowell memorably dubbed it "the white child's burden"-was rightfully considered insulting by many blacks. …

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