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Moving Beyond Brown: Race and Education After Parents v. Seattle School District No. 1


by Jamel K. Donnor — 2011

Background: By a 5–4 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 declared that voluntary public school integration programs were unconstitutional. Citing the prospective harm that students and their families might incur from being denied admission to the high school of their choice, the Supreme Court declared that the plaintiffs, Parents Involved in Community Schools (PICS), had a valid claim of injury by asserting a interest in not being forced to compete for seats at certain high schools in a system that uses race as a deciding factor in many of its admissions decisions.

Purpose: The goal of the article is to discuss how conceptions of harm and fairness as articulated in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 privilege the self-interests of White students and families over the educational needs of students of color.

Research Design: This article is a document analysis.

Conclusions: By referencing the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954 (Brown I) to buttress its decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that programmatic efforts to ensure students of color access to quality learning environments are inherently ominous. The dilemma moving forward for policy makers and scholars concerned with the educational advancement of students of color is not to develop new ways to integrate America’s public schools or reconcile the gaps in the Supreme Court’s logic, but rather to craft programs and policies for students of color around the human development and workforce needs of the global economy.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 113 Number 4, 2011, p. 735-754
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15969, Date Accessed: 8/22/2014 1:39:36 PM

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About the Author
  • Jamel Donnor
    The College of William and Mary
    JAMEL K. DONNOR is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the School of Education at The College of William and Mary. His research interests include examining race in education and society as it relates to theory, policy studies, and the experiences of African Americans students, specifically African American males, throughout the K–16 education pipeline. Among his recent publications is “Leaving Us Behind: A Political Economic Interpretation of NCLB and the Mis-education of African American Males,” Educational Foundations, Summer-Fall 2010, 43–54.
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