Saturday, June 30, 2007


George Wallace making his infamous 1963 stand in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama

Somewhere, a 94-year-old ex-Klansman is laughing his ass off. USA Today gives us the autopsy:

Setback for equal education
Students, parents and educators have good reason to be confused about mixed messages from Washington.

The federal No Child Left Behind law demands that schools reduce learning gaps between racial groups. On Thursday, however, the Supreme Court took away a key tool for achieving that goal.

The sharply divided court struck down voluntary school integration plans in Louisville, and Seattle that use race as a factor in making public school assignments. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 5-4 majority.

Roberts' words make for snappy rhetoric. But reality, 53 years after the historic Brown vs. Board of Education decision began to dismantle segregated school systems, is that children in many predominately minority schools continue to receive inferior educations.

If history is any guide, Thursday's ruling means Louisville and other cities will have more such schools. In 1999, for example, a judge ordered San Francisco schools to stop using race in school assignment. Since then, schools there have slowly resegregated.

"I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that."
--Dick Gregory, comedian and social activist