Heather Knight's SF Chronicle article gives some sense of what kind of desegregation and student assignment plan San Francisco will be moving towards. But she totally leaves out how 'separate and unequal' the schools have become especially following the impact of the Brian Ho vs. SFUSD early 90's lawsuit which challenged admissions at SF's elite Lowell High School and threatened the continuation of the SF desegregation consent decree.
The best source for info on the racial and socio-economic inequality in SF schools is Consent Decree Monitor Stuart Biegel [UCLA Law Professor] and his website - SFUSD CONSENT DECREE SITE. His Report #22 – Filed August 1, 2005 is a good outline of the ongoing inequality in the SF schools.
SF - New challenges await school assignment plan
Heather Knight, Chronicle Staff Writer - Thursday, November 10, 2005
One day after a federal judge announced the end of the court order overseeing the desegregation system in San Francisco's public schools, it was clear the debate over the way children are assigned to schools is far from over -- and could wind up back in court.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup turned down a lawyers' request Tuesday to extend the 22-year-old "consent degree'' for 18 months past its planned sunset date of Dec. 31, meaning the school district will be out from under court supervision in seven weeks.
In his decision, Alsup wrote that the current system, which uses socioeconomic factors but not race in assigning students to schools, "imposes a burden on families" and "has not and will not produce the benefit of diversity or racial integration."
Members of the San Francisco Board of Education said Wednesday that since using socioeconomic factors had not worked to desegregate all public schools, they planned to devise a system using students' race as a factor in time for assignments for the 2007-08 school year.
"You can't create racial equality if you're not race-conscious," said Board President Eric Mar. "Having race in the student assignment system is a necessity." ...
The Chronicle's Bob Egelko's piece from the day before focussed more on the Judge's decision, but similarly didn't give much info on how the rapid resegregation of SF and other Urban School District is creating a more unequal system where race and class are barriers to an equal education.
SAN FRANCISCO Judge puts end to court's role in desegregation of city schools He restores control to district after 22 years of supervision
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer - Wednesday, November 9, 2005
A federal judge ordered a halt Tuesday to 22 years of court supervision over San Francisco schools' desegregation policies, saying the involvement of the legal system may only be increasing segregation.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup rejected requests by the San Francisco Unified School District, the NAACP and a group of Chinese American parents to extend by 18 months a court order, known as a consent decree, that governs school assignments.
The order, first signed in 1983 to settle a suit that accused the district of policies that segregated African American and white children, is due to expire at the end of this year. Alsup's ruling leaves school assignments in the hands of the elected school board and Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who plans to retire in June.
"What is best for the children of San Francisco should be left to the professionals in the district, subject to the voices of all in the community," the judge wrote.
He said the schools are now laboring under "court-ordered resegregation" under a revised system, negotiated by opposing community groups and the district in 2001, that prohibited the use of race in school assignments and substituted socioeconomic status. The proposal to extend the consent decree would have locked the current system in place for at least another year, Alsup said. ...
School board President Eric Mar said Alsup was right to criticize the current assignment system. He said the board and the superintendent must devise a plan that balances the needs of the poorest children with those of families on the West Side -- middle class, working class, immigrants and Chinese Americans -- who want their children to attend schools close to home.
"We need to come up with a plan that is consistent with the progressive values of San Francisco but also with the changing demographics of the city," Mar said.
Desegregation time line
Events in the San Francisco school desegregation case:
-- 1969: The first lawsuit is filed accusing the San Francisco Unified School District of a policy of segregation. It was dismissed in 1978 after a court ruling in favor of the district.
-- 1978: The NAACP and a group of African American parents sue the district and the state, accusing them of maintaining a segregated school system in San Francisco.
-- 1983: U.S. District Judge William Orrick approves a consent decree prohibiting enrollment at any school of more than 45 percent of a single racial or ethnic group, requiring each school's staff to reflect districtwide student racial and ethnic composition, and taking additional steps to desegregate 19 historically segregated schools.
-- 1993: The decree is modified after court-appointed researchers find that desegregation goals have largely been achieved but that the academic performance gap persists for black and Latino students.
-- 1994: A group of Chinese American parents sues to overturn the decree, saying that it was an unconstitutional act of racial discrimination and also that it is no longer necessary.
-- 1999: Orrick rules that the Chinese American plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their claim that race-based student assignments are no longer constitutional because school enrollment does not reflect any discriminatory practices that existed before 1983.
-- 2001: A revised consent decree, negotiated by both groups of plaintiffs and the district, eliminates use of race in student assignments and substitutes a "diversity index" based on socioeconomic status, language use, family background and other factors. The decree is to expire Dec. 31, 2005.
-- Tuesday: U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who took over the case after Orrick's retirement in 2002, denies a request by all parties to extend the decree for 18 months.
E-mail Bob Egelko at email@example.com.