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NAACP Responds to Supreme Court School Desegregation Cases

WHEREAS, on June 28, 2007 in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Crystal D. Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court established the possibility that public school systems' race conscience student assignment plans may be constitutionally permissible under the right circumstances; and

WHEREAS, the Court determined that remedying the effects of past intentional racial discrimination is still a compelling interest; and

WHEREAS, the Court acknowledged that if there is a finding of racial discrimination, then there is a compelling government interest in eliminating the effects of past intentional discrimination; and

WHEREAS, we agree with Justice Kennedy's concurring opinion that "the plurality opinion is too dismissive of government's legitimate interest in ensuring that all people have equal opportunity regardless of their race."; and

WHEREAS, we further agree with Justice Kennedy's opinion when he said, "in administering public schools, it is permissible to consider the schools' racial makeup and adopt general policies to encourage a diverse student body, one aspect of which is its racial composition."; and

WHEREAS, unfortunately, a fractured United States Supreme Court upheld 5-4 that the Jefferson County, Kentucky, and the Seattle, Washington, district plans failed to satisfy the Court's standard and their plans were therefore struck down as unconstitutional; and

WHEREAS, the recent decisions also reiterated and expanded to K-12 earlier decisions that race cannot be used solely as a factor when determining students' school assignments; and

WHEREAS, unfortunately, the Supreme Court appears to be saying that while race-conscience plans may still be permissible under the right circumstances, school districts must first try race-neutral approaches; and

WHEREAS, public school integration is perhaps more important today than it has ever been; diversity in education can only help our nation as we try to compete in a global economy; and

WHEREAS, Brown v. Board of Education's promise of inclusive, integrated, high­ quality public schools for our Nation's children is in decline; after an initial period of resistance, our country made real progress in the integration of our Nation's public schools. Unfortunately, this trend has shown a disturbing reversal. America's public schools are now more segregated than they were in 1970; in fact, they are as segregated today as they were in the 1960s. Today more than 70% of racial and ethnic minority students nationwide currently attend public schools that remain segregated and under-funded; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP shall work with its branches, allies, and local school districts to develop plans that promote our goal of racial integration and racial and ethnic diversity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages all school districts across the Nation to carefully examine existing integration policies and, where necessary, work to improve and amend them to ensure that they meet constitutional muster rather than abandon them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP shall continue to advocate for the nomination and confirmation of fair-minded, balanced judges to the Supreme Court as well as federal judges throughout the United States;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in states where there is a constitutional requirement for every child to receive a sound basic education, NAACP Units would seek to show how resegregation with all the accompanying negative variable inherently violate this constitutional right; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its long-standing advocacy for quality integrated education for au children, and shall also continue to use its local, state, regional, and national resources to address the systemic racism that compounds the need for school integration.