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Supremes Still Working on School Equality

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

(Released Jan 2007)

Even though public school segregation was outlawed over 50 years ago, there are still lingering questions about the constitutionality of racial preferences that the U.S. Supreme Court must decide.

Before the Court right now is a set of cases challenging to policies that limit enrollment choices because schools must meet government-mandated race-based admissions guidelines.

In some public school districts, achieving a proper racial balance overrules parents’ desire to choose the right school for their child. Instead of basing enrollment on need, quality and accessibility – as was envisioned in the Brown v. Board of Education decision – our government still allows an arbitrary racial mandate to guide the admissions process.

To those who treasure equal access and common sense, this is an outrage.

For example, in Seattle, when space is limited, which students can be enrolled in particular high schools is determined by racial preferences. Administrators want schools to have approximately 40 percent white students and 60 percent minority students in each school to reflect the city’s overall student body.

In Louisville, Kentucky, all government-run schools adhere to a racial formula that guarantees black students comprise between 15 percent and 50 percent of a school’s enrollment. Parents with children in elementary school are required to rank which schools they prefer. While most families get their first or second choices, what is deemed to be best for a child can be overruled to satisfy a school’s quota requirements.

In both jurisdictions, it results in some students – usually the white ones – traveling outside of their normal districts. Aggrieved parents believe that what was wrong half a century ago is still wrong today, so these two examples are the basis for the complaint currently before the High Court.

Oddly enough, these school districts defend their policies as necessary to carry on the spirit of racial diversity established by Brown. This logic is based on the notion that segregation created by economic or demographic patterns are just as harmful as those created by racism in the past. To bolster their case, some advocates of racial preferences claim that classroom diversity improves the educational outcome for minorities.

Not everyone agrees. In November, the federal U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report saying “there is little evidence that racial and ethnic diversity in elementary and secondary schools results in significant improvements in academic performance.” The report further noted that any benefits are “modest and inconsistent.” Commission Chairman Gerald A. Reynolds further said: “In my view, the evidence suggests that these preferences do not provide significant academic benefits to minority children that would compensate for the moral costs of government’s use of racial classifications.”

In its previous term, before the appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, the Court passed on the chance to rule on a similar case involving Massachusetts schools. Stepping up this time to assess the constitutionality of the Louisville and Seattle policies, media assessments report that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy – the Court’s “swing vote” since the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor – showed no indication that he would side with his liberal colleagues to support maintaining these racial set-asides.

The Court, hopefully, will decide that preferential treatment based on race, like other characteristics such as ethnicity, sex or national origin, is unjust. It’s unfair for one group to be granted preferential treatment at the expense of others. Such treatment creates feelings of resentment and anger that can only breed racism towards minorities. In addition, using racial quotas is also unfair to minority students as well. Under certain circumstances, minority students will be denied enrollment because the school exceeded its minority limit.

Ultimately, racial quotas for school admissions provide no educational value. Parents should have the right to choose which school is right for their child based on their needs, the quality of the school system and other conveniences.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a host, Outreach Director with overseeing its outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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