Considering Race

December 13, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

See Also

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decisions upholding the consideration of race in college admissions under certain circumstances, several lower federal courts have had a chance to apply those rulings to student-assignment policies in K-12 schools.

Comfort v. Lynn School Committee

The Lynn, Mass., school district’s assignment policy says that for students who wish to transfer to schools outside their attendance areas, the district will weigh the impact on the racial and ethnic balance of the affected schools. The policy was challenged in a 1999 federal lawsuit by parents of students from a number of races and ethnic groups who had been denied requests to transfer because of the policy.

STATUS: On Dec. 5, the Supreme Court declined to review a ruling by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit that upheld the district’s policy. The Boston-based appeals court ruled 3-2 in June that the policy was narrowly tailored to the school district’s interest in achieving racial diversity in its schools.

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1

The Seattle school district has an admissions policy for its 10 high schools that says entering 9th graders can select any school. They are assigned if possible to their first choice, but if a school is oversubscribed, the district makes an assignment based on a variety of indicators, including whether the student will help bring racial balance to the school. A parents’ group filed a lawsuit in 2001 challenging the policy.

STATUS: On Oct. 20, a 7-4 majority of the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, upheld the district’s policy as narrowly tailored to achieve racial diversity.

McFarland v. Jefferson County Public Schools

The Jefferson County, Ky., district in 2001 adopted a “managed-choice” student assignment plan that includes the consideration of race for some student assignments. The plan seeks to have a black enrollment of at least 15 percent and no more than 50 percent at each school. The consideration of race was more explicit at nine “traditional” schools. Several parents challenged the plan in court.

STATUS: On July 21, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, unanimously upheld most aspects of the district’s plan. The court adopted the reasoning of the federal district judge in the case, who had ruled in 2004 that the 2001 plan was narrowly tailored to achieve diversity, but that the racial categories used for the traditional schools did not pass muster.

SOURCE: Education Week


Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week