Race and Schools
Reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of race-conscious school-assignment plans has been swift and emotional, with the decision even becoming a focal point of Democratic presidential debates last night.
In Seattle, the mother who led the lawsuit against the school district’s “racial-tiebreaker” admissions policy broke down and wept in relief. Kathleen’s Brose’s daughter had failed to get into the high school of her choicethe one that was also nearest to their homebecause she is white. “I don’t want any parent to go through what we went through,” said Brose. “It shouldn’t matter what color any kid is. Everyone should have access to great schools.”
Defenders of the district’s policy took solace in the fact that the Court’s decision—particularly as modulated by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion—didn’t completely rule out efforts to create greater diversity in schools. But there were also expressions of regret and concern about increasing school segregation. “It makes me sad that families who don’t have the income may not have the opportunity to go better-endowed schools,” said one long-time Seattle PTA member. “On the other side, it’s too bad that kids who go to one-cultured schools may not get the opportunity to learn about other cultures and people.”