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Bonnie Sutton

Civil RIghts- CRP Statement on New Policy Guidance from Departments of Education and Justice - 0 views

Dept of Justice and Education civil rights

started by Bonnie Sutton on 03 Dec 11
  • Bonnie Sutton
    December 2, 2011

    Today, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have issued long-awaited policy guidance to K-12 schools and colleges and universities across the U.S., about the ways in which they can legally and effectively pursue their compelling educational interest of reducing the very high level of separate and unequal schooling now prevailing in much of the country. Segregation of students by race, poverty, and language has been increasing for 20 years. Our nation's public school enrollment is deeply multiracial but millions of students attend segregated and inferior schools which usually offer little chance to prepare well for college.

    The new official guidance affirms the educational value of integration, a goal that is supported by increasingly powerful research evidence that integration helps all groups of students. It deepens students' knowledge and understanding, and prepares them to live and work more effectively in a very diverse society. When students from inferior schools gain access to stronger schools, their educational opportunities expand. In a country that will soon have a nonwhite majority among its young people, integrated schools can give more students the opportunity to attend schools that develop the talents of all groups, something we badly need in a competitive knowledge-based world economy where the U.S. has fallen behind in high school and college graduation levels. Integrated schools can help build a society where the old divisions are replaced by mutual understanding and respect in diverse communities.

    There has been a great deal of confusion among educators because the court decisions were complex and, until now, government has provided no positive guidance and support to those seeking ways to legally pursue the vision of Brown v. Board of Education. This guidance, about permissible voluntary action which very carefully hews to the Supreme Court decisions while recognizing the educational urgency of these issues, will be welcomed by educators in school districts and universities. There are many legal ways for educators to work to limit segregation in inferior schools and provide more opportunity for integrated education in schools and colleges.

    This guidance draws on the words of the Supreme Court to clearly communicate a range of legally and educationally sound approaches for educators and communities to consider. The Civil Rights Project is grateful that this guidance has been issued and we look forward to working with educators, community groups, and the federal government to support districts and colleges already engaged in efforts to reverse segregation and expand opportunities, but also to support others which wish to take voluntary actions that can help build healthy race relations and stronger education.

    For further information on the Civil Rights Project and work on these issues, see our studies of segregation levels, manuals prepared in collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), as well as our new manual on integration issues in racially diverse suburbs at The Civil Rights Project is an active member of the National Coalition on School Diversity, which has been working very actively on these issues.

    For more information about this statement, contact:
    Gary Orfield at 310-267-4877; 310-267-5562;;
    Erica Frankenberg at

    To read the guidance, go to:

    Studies of segregation levels in our nation's schools:

    Still Looking to the Future: Voluntary K-12 School Integration, A Manual for Parents, Educators, & Advocates (2008), NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund and Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles

    Preserving Integration Options for Latino Children: A Manual for Educators, Civil Rights Leaders, and the Community (2008), Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles on suburban integration

    Integrating Suburban Schools: How to Benefit from Growing Diversity and Avoid Segregation (2011), Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles

    About the Civil Rights Project

    Founded in 1996 by former Harvard professors Gary Orfield and Christopher Edley Jr., the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles (CRP) is now co-directed by Orfield and Patricia Gándara, professors at UCLA, and housed in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. The CRP's mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States. It has commissioned more than 400 studies, published more than 15 books and issued numerous reports from authors at universities and research centers across the country. The Supreme Court, in its 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, cited the Civil Rights Project's research.

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