Washington--The Education Department, declaring that Georgia, Oklahoma, and Missouri have fulfilled the promises they made in desegregation plans, has released the states’ higher-education systems from federal oversight.
The states were among 14 that signed agreements to desegregate their colleges and universities in the 1970’s. The department last year declared four of the states to be in compliance with civil-rights laws and said six others--including the three involved in the decision announced last month--would attain that status once they finished implementing some measures called for in their plans. (See Education Week, Feb. 17, 1988.)
Civil-rights advocates denounced the department’s decision, arguing that the states had met few goals for recruitment and retention of minority students and staff members, despite the measures called for in the plans. They insisted that the department should have measured achievement rather than effort.
The agreements resulted from a tangled court case most recently known as Adams v. Bennett. It was originally filed in 1970 by civil-rights groups seeking to force the federal government to move against states that had been found to be operating segregated colleges.
The case, which was broadened to encompass charges that the Education Department was not adequately investigating civil-rights complaints in precollegiate education, was dismissed last year, but the department retained the higher-education plans.
Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia were declared to be in compliance last year. The department is still reviewing reports from Delaware, Florida, and Virginia on completion of their plans.
Maryland’s plan expires in 1990, and the department has not yet decided whether Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Texas, whose plans expired in 1987 and 1988, have met their obligations.--jm
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 1989 edition of Education Week as E.D. Ends Oversight of 3 College-Integration Plans