(August 15, 2007) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in late June involving race desegregation in two school districts in Seattle and Louisville. The cases involved specific methods used for voluntary integration of schools, which were stricken down by the court’s ruling, causing schools across the country to wonder whether they must drastically change their own desegregation efforts. Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, clarifies the issue that the ruling applies only to voluntary desegregation plans and that race can sometimes be used to achieve diversity for the benefit of children’s effective education. Bradley is interviewed by Christie Goodman, APR, IDRA’s communications manager.
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00:52 Host Christie Goodman, APR, IDRA's communications manager, opens the show. She invites listeners to complete an online survey about the IDRA Classnotes Podcast and be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift certificate.
01:29 Christie introduces guest Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity and the show topic: "U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Race."
02:40 Bradley summarizes the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on school desegregation in late June:
The Justices treated cases from Seattle and Louisville districts together.
The ruling impacts school districts that are desegregating voluntarily.
Desegregation is still required of school districts currently under court order and supervision to desegregate; those districts are not affected by this ruling.
The full force of Brown vs. Board of Education – where school segregation on the basis of race was prohibited – remains in place.
The government does have a compelling interest in diversity in K-12 public schools, just as it has had for post-secondary schools.
Race can be considered as a factor in creating diverse school settings and schools, but it has to be used in a narrowly-tailored way. Race cannot be the primary or only factor used in creating diverse schools. Other factors – such as class and economics – must be considered as well.
07:47 Bradley explains Justice Kennedy's opinion.
10:20 Christie and Bradley discuss the initial confusion in interpreting the Supreme Court's decision.
12:30 Bradley explains that using race in a narrowly-focused way as part of creating classroom diversity is not new – even for public schools; magnet schools have been following this practice for years.
14:31 Bradley discusses the negative effects of racial isolation in the classroom and contrasts them with the educational opportunities to be gained by classroom diversity. These topics were argued particularly well before the Supreme Court by the lawyers in the Seattle school district case.
16:44 Bradley explains the "de facto matters of segregation" in the United States.
17:45 Christie asks Bradley whether school districts now under court-ordered plans to desegregate could face new legal challenges.
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