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Court Rejects Computer Link As School-Integration Method

A federal appeals court has rejected a proposal to use a computer network as a tool for racially integrating schools in Kansas City, Mo., and its suburbs.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled this month that a computer network falls outside the range of appropriate desegregation remedies.

The appellate judges overruled a U.S. District Court judge who last year endorsed the computer network as a "building block" in a larger desegregation plan.

The judges said they had seen no evidence the $1.2 million computer network would remedy any constitutional violations. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

The network would link black and white students "electronically, but not in a physical sense," the judges ruled.

In addition, the network would likely hinder Kansas City's other educational programs, and would harm efforts to attract suburban students to magnet schools with computer themes, the court held.

The plaintiffs, the district, and the state had opposed the proposal, which the district's desegregation monitoring committee had put forth at the urging of suburban districts that share technology.

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