NPR logo Supreme Court Limits Use of Race in Schools

News Headlines

Supreme Court Limits Use of Race in Schools

Supreme Court
Getty Images

More than 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The decision ordered the gradual desegregation of America's public schools.

But the legacy of discrimination persists, and today the high court ruled on two modern desegregation cases.

In a controversial 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the use of race in public school enrollment. While the judgment spoke specifically to programs in Seattle, Wash., and Louisville, Ky., it could affect dozens of similar desegregation programs across the country.

In his must-read article for The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin sheds light on the court's conservative ascendancy and the significance of its five to four votes.

And on today's show, guest host Tony Cox talked to the counsel of record in one of the two cases, as well as the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Do you agree with the court's decision, or do you think it undermines the efforts made to integrate primary and secondary education?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I haven't agreed with very much that this particular Supreme Court has done. While experts understand that the 5-4 vote on school desegregation isn't that bad, the implication is that in America, we are no longer acknowledging that racial segregation in schools is not good for our children. It is viewed that way no matter what, so perception is everything in this case.

Sent by Gigi Jones | 12:40 PM | 6-29-2007

in several cities throughout the country, busing to other school districts has been shut down forcing children to attend schools in their local community. which when we think of it, is not bad. Ironically, Elijah Muhammed predicted this. we should take advantage. money to schools is based on home ownership and voter registration. not to mention census data. this is the time for us to gain political AND economic power to take over our schools.

Sent by Brother Omi | 11:41 AM | 7-1-2007

ABC News did a story about the White woman who provoked this Supreme Court case (the other was from Seattle). She simply wanted her child to attend a local school in the community rather than have to drive by it to go to another school across town. She is a single mother and the logistics of the government mandated busing was problematic for her.

ABC's Nightline paired this woman up with Mattie Jones, long time civil rights activist who was a pioneer in getting Louisville schools integrated more than 20 years ago. SHE NOW BELIEVES THAT IT WAS ALL A MISTAKE. The schools in the Black community have been allowed to degrade. She now wishes to focus on improving local schools where all students receive a quality education at all schools without the emphasis on color.

I strongly agree with Ms. Jones. More Black students will always attend their local schools than be bused. It is unconscionable that the Black community would focus so much on integration while our local schools don't offer a compelling reason for our students to want to stay in them.

Sent by Ron B | 6:05 AM | 7-3-2007

Children, regardless of race, who are attending failing public schools, have the option of attending successful schools in thier district under(N)o (C)hild (L)eft (B)ehind. Schools exist to provide an excellent education and not for social engineering. The money that many school districts can save by abandoning cross-town busing can be better spent improving the failing schools. The time spent by children riding across town can be better spent in after-school academic programs in neighborhood schools. Brown V. Board was necessary 50 years ago to remedy separate and unequal, unfair housing practices and unfair employment practices. Now, NCLB addresses effective educational practices far more directly than busing.

Sent by Ken M. | 11:43 PM | 11-23-2007