Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Court Decision Fuels Census Battle

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Court Decision Fuels Census Battle

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON UPDATE: Court Decision Fuels Census Battle

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has intensified the debate between African Americans and conservative groups about the use of statistical sampling in legislative redistricting and the allocation of federal funds for programs such as education.

In a 5-to-4 vote, the high court ruled against the use of scientific sampling in the 2000 Census to help determine the number of congressional seats per state. But while criticizing the decision, civil rights groups say the court did not bar Congress from using Census sampling altogether -- particularly for purposes related to government funding.

Many social action groups favor statistical sampling because they say the Census head-count fails to include many low-income households.

The recent court decision is "unfortunate," says Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. Yet the court did not rule out scientific sampling "for other purposes, including legislative redistricting and the disbursement of billions of dollars in federal funds."

Henderson called on the White House to lead an active campaign to "eliminate the persistent and growing undercounts" of poor and minority children by using statistical sampling in the upcoming Census. …

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