- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay comments
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
SIMMONS: Equality in education happening much too slowly
Question of the Day
The Supreme Court acknowledged in 1954 that not all public schools were created equal and desegregation plans were subsequently ordered to be implemented with "all deliberate speed."
Yet here we are, 58 years later at the start of a new school year, and not all public schools and school policies are created equal.
For the same reasons that led to the court's unanimous decision in 1954, that is to say too few choices.
In the District, for example, critics of choice rail against public charter schools and scholarships financed with public dollars, options poor families didn't have prior to and in the immediate decades following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
More problematic is the fact that latter-day education policies have resurrected discriminatory practices by using lotteries, ZIP codes, redrawing of school boundaries and instituting sibling preferences -- as if familial legacy is a constitutional right to attend a public school.
How did we get here?
Quotas, which were intended to solve the racial balance, instead created convoluted and expensive school-busing mazes. Then, school officials began using ZIP codes and redrawing boundaries, tools that determine funding and other resources and further exacerbate the imbalance. The newest follies -- lotteries, class size, preferences and sibling legacies -- leave racial and ethnic minorities searching for Superman and a latter-day saint.
Follow me through this tangled web of race-based madness.
Just last week, a federal court in Memphis, Tenn., began settling a 47-year-old desegregation case that mandates the Fayette County school district implement a "controlled choice program" that includes racial quotas among the student body and workforce, encourages majority-to-minority student transfers, and orders the school district close two schools, open a new school and ensures "racial diversity standards" by allowing families to rank their school preferences.
This next one, as subtle as the stripes on a zebra, is being played out under President Obama's nose.
In the nation's capital, parents who want their children to attend a non-neighborhood school must first seek special permission via a lottery held by the school system and then solicit a wink and a nod from administrators at the school. Students who live within a school's boundaries and have a sibling attending the school are bumped to the head of the line, while students who live within walking distance of their preferred school can be denied enrollment.
But even if a non-neighborhood child is admitted, the words "all are welcome" are not written with indelible ink. For example, the Capitol Hill Cluster School uses boldface type to stress on its website that "10 unexcused absences and 20 unexcused tardies can result in the student being sent back to their neighborhood school at the end of the school year."
That more-likely-than-not-neighborhood school is of the separate-but-unequal variety in a predominately black neighborhood, where most of the children get free or reduced-price lunches and other government handouts.
Another exhibit, this one courtesy of Louisiana, is in Avoyelles Parish, where schools do not seem to racially measure up with several benchmarks, including extracurricular activities.
Indeed, U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell signaled last week that he will take into consideration a complaint that black cheerleader and majorette selections are not being judged as fairly as their white counterparts because the black girls were not evaluated by their peers at black colleges.
Interestingly, if it weren't for choice, New Orleans' public school system would still be in shambles after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As things stand now, New Orleans has more charter schools than any other U.S. school district.
And, while the District ranks No. 2 with charters, those schools are fighting for not only public dollars and closed school buildings but playgrounds and athletic facilities, too.
Like the Dixiecrats back in the day, the anti-choice Democratic practices of today, like those supported by the Obama administration and the D.C. mayor's administration, reflect the new segregationists.
Race-based school policies, however thinly veiled, breathed new life into Jim Crow and effectively re-created de facto school segregation.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
• Deborah Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
- SIMMONS: A season to be jolly all around the world
- SIMMONS: A little girl's life shows scars of domestic violence
- SIMMONS: Pictures of Obama and 'Dane' lady don't lie
- SIMMONS: Mandela: May the man of many roles rest in peace
- SIMMONS: Obama visits Southeast D.C. with minimum wage on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Sen. Max Baucus: Obamas choice for China ambassador
- Obama's own panel rips NSA spying on phone calls of Americans
- President gets budget win -- but only by staying out of negotiations
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Lists of top ten movies, songs, funny moments, fashion statements, automobiles, children's names, stupid celebrity moments, first dates, last dates, weddings, and much, much more.
Right-brain investing in a left-brain world. You can do it. I can help.
News and views on the Civil War.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow