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Becoming Less Separate? School Desegregation, Justice Department Enforcement, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status

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Becoming Less Separate? School Desegregation, Justice Department Enforcement, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status

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    Available in PDF Format | Becoming Less Separate? School Desegregation, Justice Department Enforcement, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status.pdf | English
    United State Commission on Civil Rights (Author)
The United States Commission on Civil Rights transmits this report, Becoming Less Separate? School Desegregation, Justice Department Enforcement, and the Pursuit of Unitary Status, pursuant to Public Law 103-419. The purpose of the report is to examine what effect the increase in the number of schools obtaining unitary status has had on the racial balance of schools that were previously under court order. Specifically, the report examines whether levels of integration tend to erode as consent decrees are lifted. To that end, the Commission collected data as to the legal status of school districts in seven states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Commission then analyzed this data to determine if obtaining unitary status was associated with greater levels of racial clustering or reduced integration within districts. In addition, the Commission examined the Educational Opportunities Section (EOS) of the Department of Justice, which is charged with the primary enforcement role in this area to determine what effect its policies and actions have had on the racial balance of school districts. The findings indicate that the increase in the number of jurisdictions obtaining unitary status has not had a negative effect on levels of integration. Moreover, the evidence indicates that the substantial number of districts that have obtained unitary status since 2000, at least partly through the actions of EOS, exhibit higher levels of integration than those districts that obtained such status in prior decades. The report also indicates that certain factors, unrelated to the legal status of a school district, have a more significant effect on levels of racial balance. Among these are the size of a district’:s student population, the percentage of white student enrollment, and the state in which the district is located. The Commission urges that these factors be further examined and that school districts and the communities of which they are a part take the steps necessary to address the vestiges of state based discrimination.
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