Magnet Schools of America: High Court Strikes Down School Assignment Plans

Jun 29, 2007, 01:00 ET from Magnet Schools of America

    WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued
 today by Magnet Schools of America:
     On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision
 on whether or not the public school districts in Seattle and Louisville can
 voluntarily use race-conscious measures to avoid racial isolation and
 achieve racial diversity in their elementary and secondary schools (Parents
 Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, 05-908 and
 Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 05-915).
     The high court found, in a split decision, that both plans were
 unconstitutional in using race to achieve diversity, but the decision is
 not viewed as a defeat for "school integration and diversity." Chief
 Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, in our opinion, has negated over
 50 years of effort for school integration (Brown v. the Board of Education,
 a unanimous decision by the high court) and the importance of integrated
 schools for all races and ethnic populations.
     We are, however, very pleased that a majority of the Court recognizes
 that educational diversity and overcoming our history of segregation to be
 "compelling governmental interests" which school districts can pursue
 through careful race-conscious efforts. We applaud Justice Kennedy's
 discussion of this very topic of the use of alternate methods to achieve
 school integration and diversity.
     We believe (1) the critical importance of every school in the nation to
 promote a diverse student population with options for parents (e.g., magnet
 schools) and (2) support the compelling benefits of integrated and diverse
 schools on student learning, the provisions of equity and opportunity for
 all students in an integrated student body.
     Magnet Schools of America finds Justice Roberts' plurality decision to
 be extremely disappointing as it goes against every principle Magnet
 Schools of America stands for. We deplore this ruling that the Seattle,
 Louisville, and similar student assignment plans are unconstitutional. It
 affects every school district and every racial/ethnic group in America.
     Based on our mission statement, Magnet Schools of America is ready to
 provide leadership in working with Congress and school districts to provide
 solutions to deal with the Supreme Court's decision. We are committed to
 promoting equity, diversity, and academic excellence for all students to
 preserve high quality public schools in our nation.
     Magnet Schools of America provides leadership for innovative
 instructional programs that promote equity, diversity, and academic
 excellence for all students in public school choice programs.

SOURCE Magnet Schools of America