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Registered: 11/29/01
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Court rejects Seattle schools' racial tiebreaker
    #2936976 - 07/28/04 03:46 PM (19 years, 8 months ago)

The end of preferences seems to be getting closer. Race should not be a factor in anything.

Court rejects Seattle schools' racial tiebreaker
Appeals panel rules out its use by district for admissions


A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected Seattle Public Schools' use of race as a tiebreaker in determining student admissions, marking the latest chapter in a four-year legal battle that could ultimately land the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling called the district's race-based admissions policy "an unadulterated pursuit of racial proportionality" at odds with the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits states from denying any person equal protection under the law.

The ruling follows a state Supreme Court decision a year ago that upheld the racial tiebreaker, saying it does not violate Initiative 200, the state's voter-approved law prohibiting preferential treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender in public education, employment or contracting.

Introduced in 1997, the year before I-200 passed, Seattle Public Schools' "open choice" plan allows students to attend any school in the district. But when demand outpaces capacity, the district has used race as one criterion in admitting students. It hasn't applied the practice the past two years while the appeals court ruling was pending.

A parent group sued the school district in federal court four years ago, charging that the racial tiebreaker violates I-200, the U.S. Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The case was rejected by the U.S. District Court and appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which overruled the District Court judge in April 2002. But in a highly unusual move, it later withdrew its own decision and asked the Washington Supreme Court to consider the issue.

The state Supreme Court upheld the policy, and the case was sent to the San Francisco-based federal appeals court for yesterday's ruling.

Pacific Legal Foundation managing attorney Russ Brooks, who argued on behalf of the parents who sued Seattle Public Schools, was pleased by the outcome.

"It's pretty much what we expected," he said. "We were very confident that the school district's program violated the federal Constitution and suspected that the 9th Circuit would find that out, and it did."

Superintendent Raj Manhas was out of town yesterday, and School Board President Mary Bass could not be reached for comment on whether the district would pursue an appeal.

District spokeswoman Patti Spencer said the district will take direction from the School Board.

"We're certainly disappointed with the decision," she said. "We will examine the options available to us and discuss those with the School Board."

The tiebreaker could have been reinstated after the June 2003 Supreme Court decision. But at the time, enrollment director John Vacchiery said employing the tiebreaker with the appeals court ruling pending would be risky, a determination that proved prudent in light of yesterday's decision.

In the past, the district has argued that the tiebreaker was necessary in a city geographically divided by race. But it meant that in some cases, students were displaced from their neighborhood schools and bused to other areas of the city.

Kathleen Brose, president of Parents Involved in Community Schools, which filed the lawsuit against the district, became frustrated when her daughter was denied enrollment at Ballard High School three years ago. Instead, Brose said, her daughter took a bus 45 minutes each way from the family's Magnolia home to Ingraham High School for a year, before transferring somewhere closer.

Brose said the situation worked out for her daughter, who flourished at The Center School -- a 225-student school in the Seattle Center -- but created rifts with neighborhood friends that still haven't mended. Some, she said, thought her opposition to the policy was about race.

"To me, it wasn't. I believe students should have access to a neighborhood school," she said. "We just want to have schools close to home so that our kids can be involved in after-school sports or activities, so parents don't have to drive across the city to go to a parent-teacher conference or a PTA meeting."

Others argue that diversity has decreased in some of the district's most popular schools since the racial tiebreaker was abandoned. At Ballard, 45 percent of ninth- and 10th-graders were minority students in 2001, when the policy was still in effect. By last fall the figure had dropped to 37 percent in both grades.

However, at Franklin High School in the city's South End, the percentage of minority students has returned to the same level after a one-year increase. The percentage of ninth- and 10th-grade minority students increased from 77 percent in 2001 to 86 percent in 2002, but dropped to 76 percent last fall.


You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Registered: 06/23/02
Posts: 1,583
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Re: Court rejects Seattle schools' racial tiebreaker [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2936984 - 07/28/04 03:49 PM (19 years, 8 months ago)

"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma

Edited by BleaK (07/28/04 03:49 PM)

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Registered: 05/08/04
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Re: Court rejects Seattle schools' racial tiebreaker [Re: luvdemshrooms]
    #2939373 - 07/29/04 03:29 AM (19 years, 8 months ago)

now all the poor kids can go back to shitty schools and kathleen brose wont have to spend 45 minutes on a bus to go to ingraham
it is a joyous day indeed

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Error: divide byzero

Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/27/01
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Re: Court rejects Seattle schools' racial tiebreaker [Re: wrong]
    #2939658 - 07/29/04 08:17 AM (19 years, 8 months ago)

> now all the poor kids can go back to shitty schools and kathleen brose wont have to spend 45 minutes on a bus to go to ingraham

Why should schools in poor areas be poor schools? The educational opportunities should be the same at all schools, regardless of their location. Perhaps the school system should worry about creating equality within their own ranks (schools and teachers) rather than worrying about bussing kids around the city... in other words, fix the problem rather than the symptoms.

Just another spore in the wind.

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