Phi Beta Cons

Dubious ‘Desegregation’ Decree

This is more K-12 than higher ed, but there is some overlap: Last week the Justice Department’s civil right- division announced a consent decree in a long-running school-desegregation case in Pickens County, Ala. In it, the school board and state are required, among other things, to “develop policies and programs to eliminate observed racial disparities in student discipline, grade retention, graduation rates and post-graduate scholarships.”

Now, really:  It just cannot be credibly argued that such disparities are, as the Justice Department’s press release asserts, “the remaining vestiges of [the] formerly segregated school system.” Those disparities have myriad social and economic causes that have much more to do with, for example, family structure than with a school-desegregation case filed in 1963 against a school system that has now been under court order since 1970.

The civil-rights division is using the existence of this case as an excuse to foist its own social-engineering goals — which, inevitably and ironically, will result in similarly situated white and black children being treated unequally in order to ensure that the school system gets its numbers right — on state and local governments. And this announcement is likely to be a harbinger of more such settlements that the division will try to coerce. 

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