Report Blames Supreme Court for Re-Segregation of Schools

By Watson, Jamal | Diverse Issues in Higher Education, October 4, 2007 | Go to article overview

Report Blames Supreme Court for Re-Segregation of Schools


Watson, Jamal, Diverse Issues in Higher Education


Resegregation in American public schools has intensified over the last two decades, particularly in the American South, and the U.S. Supreme Court is largely responsible for this trend. Those are the findings in a new report released by the Civil Rights Project, which is headquartered at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In "Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation, and the Need for New Integration Strategies" authored by Dr. Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee, the scholars argue that since 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court has steadily ruled against efforts to integrate public schools, creating a climate that has ultimately forced local and state school districts across the country to abandon voluntary desegregation programs.

The indictment of the Supreme Court comes just three months after the high court ruled in the Louisville and Seattle cases that race cannot be used in an effort to achieve desegregation, prompting some to question whether the court was slowly reversing its position on the 1954 landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision.

"The court [has] reversed nearly four decades of decisions and regulations which had permitted and even required that race be taken into account because of the earlier failure of desegregation plans that did not do that," Orfield and Lee wrote, adding that in 1968, 99 percent of Black students attended totally segregated schools, compared to 27 percent of Black students who attended majority White schools in 2005. If left unaddressed, the authors conclude that the level of resegregation among African-Americans in the South will likely revert back to the dismal numbers of the 1950s and 1960s. …

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