March 1, 2016

"A third-grader from St. Louis was told he couldn’t return to his elementary school next year — because he’s black."

How is this possible?, you may wonder. I know I did when I read the first reports of this boy's predicament. The explanation is that the child's family is moving out of the city school district and into a suburban school district. His city school is Gateway Science Academy, which was created as part of a desegregation effort, and he could continue to attend if he stayed in the area. But only white kids from the suburbs can cross into the city district, because the idea was to increase the proportion of white students in city schools. So when his family asked if he could still attend, they received a letter telling them that he can't because he's black.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released a statement clarifying that the “unfortunate situation” is because “of the student’s change in residency.”
“Even if the family's new St. Louis County school district participated in the transfer program, the student would still not be able to transfer. This situation stems from the 1980 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that the St. Louis City and County schools were maintaining segregated systems. In 1983, the schools reached a Desegregation Settlement Agreement allowing African-American students to transfer into primarily white suburban school districts and for non-African American students to attend St. Louis schools. The goal was to try to balance the racial makeup of the city and county schools,” the statement read.
The mother says: “The only thing I would really like out of this whole outcome are that the guidelines be revised for all children. I don’t think a factor of race should determine if a kid should be able to go to school or not, or the guidelines should have some leeway for how to deal with situations like this.... I don’t want any other families to go through what we’re going through.”

Legally, the question is whether the St. Louis City and County schools has eliminated the vestiges of de jure segregation. That's the compelling government interest that is seen as justifying the ongoing discrimination. After that, continued race discrimination, just for race balancing, violates the Equal Protection Clause, according to the 2006 Supreme Court case Parents Involved v. Seattle School District. That was a 5-4 case, and I think a new liberal majority would be eager to overrule or limit it.

As the mother says, a fix involving "some leeway" for "situations like this" could preserve the overall integration plan. The "situation like this" is a child who is already attending the school, who wants to continue, even as his family moves out of the district.

ADDED: Here's a NYT article by Emily Bazelon suggesting the perspective a new liberal majority would be likely to take on the school desegregation problem. Excerpt:
Justice Stephen Breyer sounded a sad and grim note of dissent [in Parents Involved]. Pointing out that the court was rejecting student-assignment plans that the districts had designed to stave off de facto resegregation, Breyer wrote that “to invalidate the plans under review is to threaten the promise of Brown.” By invoking Brown v. Board of Education, the court’s landmark 1954 civil rights ruling, Breyer accused the majority of abandoning a touchstone in the country’s efforts to overcome racial division. “This is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret,” he concluded.

Breyer’s warning, along with even more dire predictions from civil rights groups, helped place the court’s ruling at the center of the liberal indictment of the Roberts court. In Louisville, too, the court’s verdict met with resentment. Last fall, I asked Pat Todd, the assignment director for the school district of Jefferson County, which encompasses Louisville and its suburbs, whether any good could come of the ruling. She shook her head so hard that strands of blond hair loosened from her bun. “No,” she said with uncharacteristic exasperation, “we’re already doing what we should be.”

44 comments:

Curious George said...

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Fritz said...

Some parents have been known to choose where they live based on schools.

tds said...

Ptolemy urgently needed to add some epicycles to the desegregation laws!

Brando said...

Cases like this almost make me feel sorry for left-racialists, because all their hopes of racial retribution and preferences run against one another. Keep everyone racially separated if it helps blacks? Try and force a "diverse" mix until the outcome looks more satisfying? What to do when these plans have unintended consequences for the very people we're trying to help? When you drop the racial lens and start treating people as people regardless of race, things become much simpler and more just.

But I can't feel sorry for such leftists until they learn they are perpetuating evils. Perhaps they think they're well-intentioned, but it is evil nonetheless.

tim in vermont said...

She shook her head so hard that strands of blond hair loosened from her bun.

Someone should check her for ear mites.

Original Mike said...

"How is this possible?"

Liberal race policy.

CarlF said...

Scrape off the thin veneer of modern Democrats with their use of phrases like "affirmative action", overcoming "racial division", etc., you see the 160-year stance of the Democrat Party that race shall determine the actions of government. Then and now, the Democrats believe the Democrat elite is necessary to "help" the blacks who are unable to take care of them selves.

PJ said...

But surely the leeway shouldn't be limited to the child who's already attending. What about these parents' younger, pre-school children? Should they have to attend a different school from their big brother just because they're black?

Curious George said...

"How is this possible?"

You gotta break some eggs to make an omelette. Edmund Lee and his family learned a hard lesson...he's the fucking egg. Oh, and there is no omelette...so WE NEED MORE EGGS!!!

samanthasmom said...

Is there something wrong with the schools in the suburb the family is moving to? When you move, your kids usually have to change schools. It's all part of "moving". Why should this child get special privileges? Suck it up, Buttercup. Meet some need friends. Develop some resiliency skills. Join the soccer team. Become a scout. Adjust.

Brando said...

"Is there something wrong with the schools in the suburb the family is moving to? When you move, your kids usually have to change schools. It's all part of "moving". Why should this child get special privileges? Suck it up, Buttercup. Meet some need friends. Develop some resiliency skills. Join the soccer team. Become a scout. Adjust."

Well, I was sort of wondering that too--it's unusual to be allowed to attend a school in another district, barring special circumstances like special needs or high achievers where their own district schools cannot accommodate. But race should not be a factor, period. It's 2016, for God's sake.

Paco Wové said...

First link is broken.

Michael K said...

" All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."
Benito Mussolini.

MarkW said...

"Well, I was sort of wondering that too--it's unusual to be allowed to attend a school in another district, barring special circumstances like special needs or high achievers where their own district schools cannot accommodate."

It depends on where you live. In Michigan, funding for students comes from the state and school districts are allowed to have open enrollment, accepting out-of-district students (which most districts do). So there is a lot of competition for students and a lot of students attending school in adjoining districts. There are also under-performing districts that have lost most of their students to better-run neighboring districts (or charter schools).

Birkel said...

And the new, Obama-approved Supreme Court Justice would reverse so that the school would continue to keep this kid out of the preferred school.

That new "Justice" would be explicitly racialist.

Justice Scalia would have told the school system their racial discrimination is illegal.

Rev. Kevin Vogts said...

But surely he can attend a separate, but equal, school in his new district?

MaxedOutMama said...

But why, rationally, should this child receive special treatment?

If one accepts the premise of race-balancing, it is done overall to get a better educational experience for all children. It is not that he cannot attend because he is black - it is because he no longer lives in the district.

But presumably, the move outside that district has now placed the child in a more mixed environment. It is entirely rational to preserve that slot for a child in the inner-city district which is less racially mixed.

Tank said...

The mother says: “The only thing I would really like out of this whole outcome are that the guidelines be revised for all children. I don’t think a factor of race should determine...

Who Whom.

Hagar said...

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

And anyway, it does not have to make sense, it is policy!

Hagar said...

Established by lawyers and courts no less!

AprilApple said...

It's long past time to end defining access to __________ (jobs schools whatever) based on skin color. State sanctioned Institutional racism and quotas are silly.

Deja Voodoo said...

Edmund Lee and his family learned a hard lesson...he's the fucking egg.
Thread winner.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The parents want, the student wants, blaah blah blah. Why the hell should we care what that family wants or what might be best for one kid? What's important is the system and the goals (regarding racial balancing) of that system. Who cares about some individual? The system is what's important.
Anyway that is the answer given when non-favored-group applicants are "unfairly" denied admission to some school, right? Quit whining, kid.

MayBee said...

Is not moving an option?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Make everything race blind, and allow students to attend out of district schools as long as their parents provide transportation. Done.

Is there something wrong with the schools in the suburb the family is moving to? When you move, your kids usually have to change schools. It's all part of "moving". Why should this child get special privileges? Suck it up, Buttercup. Meet some need friends. Develop some resiliency skills. Join the soccer team. Become a scout. Adjust.

This particular child should not get special privileges, but the freedom to choose the best school/school district should be there for all families, and they shouldn't have to live within some bureaucrat's boundary line to access that, as long as they are not asking for special accommodations related to their out-of-district status. That kid is evidently happy and successful at that school--what purpose is served by forcing his family to give that up in order to satisfy whatever needs they are by moving?

Oso Negro said...

The new policy should be this - Negroes do whatever they want, or racist!

Mike said...

And the racial Krazy Kwilt loses a few more stitches. What would be really spectacular is for a school district to stop counting colors and ethnicities. You know, maybe they can stop discriminating by race by at least attempting to stop discriminating by race. An idea so crazy it might work.

Gahrie said...

After that, continued race discrimination, just for race balancing, violates the Equal Protection Clause, according to the 2006 Supreme Court case Parents Involved v. Seattle School District. That was a 5-4 case, and I think a new liberal majority would be eager to overrule or limit it.

Meaning of course that you believe that the liberal justices are eager to extend and strengthen racial discrimination.

tim maguire said...

The child should go to the school whose budget is supported by the parent's taxes. Unless they want to pay tuition.

As for "desegregation," these are the problems you get when you try to fix a problem by proxy. Housing discrimination should be addressed by ending housing discrimination. Which, of course, was done generations ago. Problem solved, let's move on.

jaed said...

It is not that he cannot attend because he is black - it is because he no longer lives in the district.

If I understand correctly, he would be allowed to stay in his school if he were white, because white students from outside the city are allowed to attend this school. For "race-balancing" purposes. So it is reasonable to say he can't attend because he's black.

Biff said...

The whole point of Social Justice is Society, not the Individual, with the major exception being the occasional individual who can be used as a Symbol. Edmund and his family are learning an important lesson about the difference between "Justice" and "Social Justice."

AlbertAnonymous said...

Please re-read Justice Thomas's Concurring Opinion in Fisher I.

All the losing arguments made in favor of continued segregation in Brown v Bd. appear to be fashionable again in favor of diversity.

Isn't Parents Involved the case where Roberts wrote "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race"?

The more things change...

mccullough said...

St. Louis has a thriving market for private schools. Like the Obamas and the Kennedys, the folks who can afford it send their kids to private school. Urban public schools are jobs programs.

buwaya puti said...

Having been in the middle of a long mess of desegregation plans, consent decrees, consequent churn in school assignment policies - our kids started school nearly three decades into our local troubles, which continue after they finished their school years - this whole business is tyrannical idiocy. James Coleman never called for this, and he said that this would not work. He has been upheld by every study since. The courts in these cases are simply imposing on the people, in an attitude of arrogant contempt.

SteveR said...

The important thing here is blaming Republicans, and more specifically George Bush, either one or both.

YoungHegelian said...

I don’t think a factor of race should determine if a kid should be able to go to school or not

Welcome to the Republican Party, mom!

Rusty said...

Original Mike said...
"How is this possible?"

Liberal race policy.


Yep. Once you move , kid, you no longer conform to the narrative so you might as well be white.

Rusty said...

Wasn't there a documentary on just this kind of thing?
It was called, "Idiocracy" if I remember correctly.

Roger Sweeny said...

1983--that's 33 years ago! Contrary to Justice O'Connor's hope, for most law school professors and most politicians, there will never be a time when "the vestiges of de jure segregation" are "eliminated."

Roger Sweeny said...

This particular child should not get special privileges, but the freedom to choose the best school/school district should be there for all families,

That assumes that the demand for the best school/school district will never exceed the supply. I think the chances of that are "indistinguishable from zero."

Actually, one of the great secrets of the ed business is that at least 80% of being a "good school" is having "good students." New Trier High School, north of Chicago, is consistently considered one of the nation's best and has great student scores on things like the SAT. The opposite can be said of some of Chicago's high schools. However, if you switched the New Trier students with the students at Chicago's "worst" high school, that high school would now seem pretty good and New Trier would inexplicably become a bad school.

Cf. the Kansas City desegregation case, where the court tried to ensure that every student in Kansas City could go to a "best" school. A lot of money was spent. Lots of wonderful sounding stuff was done and/or built and the results were slightly distinguishable from zero.

n.n said...

I don’t think a factor of race should determine if a kid should be able to

Positive progress. While placing skin color before individual dignity is highly lucrative, it is also a means to nurture bias, develop prejudice, and sponsor corruption.

buwaya said...

"1983--that's 33 years ago! "

In San Francisco its 1969 - 47 years ago.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

That assumes that the demand for the best school/school district will never exceed the supply. I think the chances of that are "indistinguishable from zero."

Actually, one of the great secrets of the ed business is that at least 80% of being a "good school" is having "good students."


Oh, I agree entirely. And "good students" usually means "motivated parents." Most parents in any given area are happy to drop their kids off at whatever the neighborhood school is. For those who have reasons to go out of their way--and there aren't very many--let them. Allow transfers from out of district. Charge tuition if you want; make parents provide transportation. Both districts will benefit because the gaining district will take on motivated kids/parents who take school seriously, and the losing district will have incentive to improve/offer better programs to keep those same motivated families.

Personal experience here is that we live within the boundaries of our local large urban district, which does not have acceptable programs that are suited to my kids' needs (gifted/talented and instrumental music, to be specific). We pay taxes here to support that school district, but also go to some expense and hassle to pay tuition and provide transportation to a much smaller neighboring district that far better matches what works for our particular kids. The smaller district accepts transfers like a private school might--after an application process examining grades, test scores, discipline records, and parents' interest/ability to be involved in the school community.

Howard Nelson said...

When we permit public governance stupidity uber alles, we invite power to promote malice, aforethought, mid-thought, and afterthought.
Our grasp of what's important is so weak, we cannot even hold ourselves in contempt.