The Supreme Court's 2007 Parents Involved decision represents the apotheosis of the contemporary Republican belief that "George Wallace and Strom Thurmond are the true heirs to Martin Luther King." Relying on empty tautologies, Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion invoked Supreme Court landmarks holding segregated schools unconstitutional in order to prevent two cities from voluntarily integrating their schools.
Today, Robert Barnes has a superb article about how Parents Involved has played out in Louisville and Seattle. Reading the whole thing is definitely worth the time, but to summarize:
- Seattle "has mostly abandoned efforts" to diversify its classrooms.
- Louisville's attempt to diversify its schools using socioeconomic status has been expensive and complex, and presents many political problems. There is also a great deal of uncertainty as school boards try to craft programs that will appeal to Justice Kennedy, who claims that he could support some affirmative action programs in theory, but it's not clear if there's anything he would support in practice.
The story is just one small example of the disgraceful lack of progress in integrating America's schools, but it's an instructive example.
-- Scott Lemieux