Education A Washington Roundup

U.S. Civil Rights Commission Examines Omaha Breakup

By Andrew Trotter — September 12, 2006 1 min read

Three members of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission were to meet in Omaha on Sept. 8 for a hearing on the implications of a new Nebraska law that divides the state’s largest school district into three racially identifiable segments.

The law, signed by Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, in April, splits the 45,000-student Omaha district into one that will be made up primarily of African-American students, another that will be primarily Hispanic children, and a third that will be primarily white students. Although supporters of the law said it will give minority groups local control of their schools, opponents have charged that it will result in racial segregation.

Scheduled for the meeting were speakers that included Nebraska elected officials and representatives from education and civil rights groups in the state.

Kenneth L. Marcus, the staff director of the seven-member commission, said that within a few months, the commission would produce a report on the session that would be sent to President Bush, members of Congress, and Nebraska officials.

A version of this article appeared in the September 13, 2006 edition of Education Week