Saturday, June 9, 2012

Arkansas School Choice Law Found Unconstitutional

Readers will remember our 2007 journal’s special issue on the U.S. Supreme Court decision, PICS v Seattle School District, when the High Court struck down Seattle’s policies to use race as a factor in public school admissions. Seattle had a long history of attempts to integrate its public schools without (or ahead of) a mandate of a court order, attempts that were constantly challenged by citizen initiatives. Its final attempt to use race as a tiebreaker when enrollment to a desired school choice was filled was found unconstitutional in the 2007 High Court decision.


Recently, a Federal Court struck down an Arkansas school choice law that reflects the reasoning of the earlier U.S. Supreme Court decision. Unlike Seattle, however, the state of Arkansas had a long history of court orders for desegregation and was concerned about preserving its desegregation efforts.


According to an Associated Press release on June 8th, U.S. District Judge Robert Dawson found the provision of the law dealing with race violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and wrote in his decision:
The State must employ a more nuanced, individualized evaluation of school and student needs, which, while they may include race as one component, may not base enrollment or transfer options solely on race.
Because the provision could not be separated from the rest of the law, the court struck down the entire school choice law.  The decision in Teague v. Arkansas Board of Education came down on June 8th.

2 comments:

dawidtailor said...

The arkansas state university is one of the biggest university in the Jonesboro. Now this university is provide law education.

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phlebotomist said...

Not exactly. The law, as currently written, prohibits majority to majority transfers. Judge Dawson's ruling struck that down and, stopping short of saying that race couldn't be considered in the transfer ruling, said that race could not be the dispositive issue.
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