Using guidelines set by the U.S. Supreme Court last year, a federal judge has dismissed the desegregation case against the Oklahoma City public schools. U.S. District Judge Luther Bohanon released the Oklahoma schools from federal supervision this month because, he said, the district had eliminated the vestiges of racial discrimination "to the extent practicable."
In dismissing the 30-year-old case, Judge Bohanon cited last year's precedent-setting Supreme Court decision, Dowell v. Oklahoma City Board of Education, which set guidelines for Oklahoma City and other districts to be declared "unitary." (See Education Week, Jan. 23, 1991 .)
Judge Bohanon wrote that the district had eliminated the vestiges of discrimination in student assignment, faculty assignment, and other areas of operation, and "it is time to recognize that progress."
Arthur W. Stellar, superintendent of schools, hailed the decision as upholding the constitutionality of the district's neighborhood-schools plan, which eliminated busing for desegregation.
But Janell M. Byrd, a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who represented the plaintiffs, last week maintained that the district is still segregated and said she will seek to appeal Judge Bohanon's ruling.
The Florida Department of Education and advocates for language- minority students have reached a compromise that extends the deadline for the financially strapped state to train teachers for multilingual classrooms.
The agreement between education- department officials and the advocacy group Multiculturalism Education, Training, and Advocacy Inc. is expected to be submitted to Gov. Lawton Chiles for approval this week.
Last year, in settling a federal lawsuit brought by META on behalf of a Florida coalition of advocacy groups, state officials had agreed to pay for some teachers to undergo 300 hours of training in the instruction of language minorities within three years. (See Education Week, Sept. 5, 1990.)
A compromise reached last month between the state and META gives the teachers an extra year to get their training, thereby easing the current financial burden on the state, department officials said.
The state is facing a budget shortfall of $622 million, more than half of which was earmarked for education, and the training program was expected to cost about $90 million per year to implement by the original deadline.
Vol. 11, Issue 12, Page 3