Supreme Court Rejects Use of Racial Tiebreaker, 5-4
Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion:
"Yet Justice Anthony Kennedy would not go as far as the other four conservative justices, saying in a concurring opinion that race may be a component of school district plans designed to achieve diversity. To the extent that Roberts' opinion can be interpreted to foreclose the use of race in any circumstance, Kennedy said, "I disagree with that reasoning." He agreed with Roberts that the plans in Louisville and Seattle violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection."
Justice Kennedy leaves the door open to carefully crafting an enrollment policy that uses race as a factor but, of course, the devil is in the details. Would the district take another shot at it? Between the lean to neighborhood schools and the loss of this case, I doubt it.
Or the district could do nothing. Doing nothing will surely segregate our schools. This isn't the district's fault. This city has a sad past of redlining real estate and that legacy can't be undone, not at today's housing prices and with now-established neighborhoods. The south end and alternative schools would likely be the most diverse schools in the district. The district has indicated in the past that they wanted to make some alternatives like TOPS and AAA (maybe all of them except Summit) regional schools which would further curb diversity.
All of this is now in play with the on-going work on the enrollment plan. I recall a couple of years ago Roosevelt students going to a couple of Board meetings protesting the change from yellow bus service to Metro (thus meaning fewer south end kids would make the trip north). If there was an economic tie-breaker, students from all over the city might be able to make the trip (in the future) to Roosevelt and Franklin as they will be right by the light-rail stations.
Does diversity matter? It used to be a strong issue for the Board to fight for. It will be interesting to ask SB candidates what they would propose and how important they feel creating diversity in our schools is.
It also will be interesting to see what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's take on this is. She, of course, does not create policy but she certainly could give her input. FYI, her first Board meeting is July 11th.