Despite the passage of 64 years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, too many schools remain largely segregated. That’s why a lawsuit organized by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools will be closely followed (“New Jersey Law Codifies School Segregation, Suit Says,” The New York Times, May 18).
I say that because there seems to be a direct clash between New Jersey courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The former has ruled since the 1960s that even de facto segregation is unconstitutional. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court in Milliken v. Bradley held in 1974 that school systems are not responsible for desegregation across district lines unless it is de jure. Curiously, the plaintiffs in the New Jersey suit admit that it is de facto. Which side will prevail?
But let’s assume for a moment that the high court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. What can be done to integrate schools now that hasn’t been tried before? Busing hasn’t worked for the most part. Magnet schools are more promising, but they too are limited in their potential. Integration is good for all students. But the devil is in the details. As long as present residential housing patterns remain, I see little hope for significantly integrating schools.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)