Racial Isolation

A Growing Phenomenon

Racial Isolation has become a growing phenomenon in public schools across the United States. It is the moral obligation of all public schools to reduce racial isolation and improve educational opportunities for minority children. School districts across the United States need to improve diversity and/or avoid racial isolation within the school buildings within the School Districts. However, efforts to improve diversity and decrease racial isolation do not always end positively for some.

In 2007, Seattle School District introduced the Student Assignment Plan which used race as a qualifying criterion for school assignments in order to comply with a legal order to desegregate its schools. Seattle School District believed the only way to desegregate was to not allow more than 50% black students at a particular school. On school applications, parents were required to state what the race of his or her child was. The race of the child was the determining factor what school building the child would attend. The issue is whether a public school may choose to classify students by race and rely upon that classification in making school assignments.

In 2007, the courts found Seattle School District in violation of discriminatory action due to fact that the efforts to separate the students were based on specific racial demographics and not in the theme of diversity. The order mandated that the School District employ serious good faith considerations of workable race-neutral alternatives.

This initiative by the Seattle School District to achieve diversity and/or reduce racial isolation was not successful. The initiative was not “narrowly tailored”. The major problem with Seattle’s School District initiative was that they classified every student on the basis of race and to assign each of them to schools based on the classification. The School District should consider other factors than just race, such as demographic factors, special talents and needs, and student interest to achieve a diverse student population across their District.

(Justia US Supreme Court, 2007)

Until we get equality in education

We won’t have an equal society!

Sonia Sotomayer

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