There’s a lot of talk about Nashville ”getting out from under the desegregation court order.“ But that doesn’t mean everyone wants it lifted.
At both ends of the political spectrum, there are those who want to see the decades-old order go away. Conservatives point to a growing catalog of federal court cases that have released school systems from desegregation orders, even while, in some cases, the schools remain segregated. The conservatives correctly point out that Nashville’s court orderwhich is inactive but still applicablecould possibly be lifted without Metro having to spend another dime.
On the other hand, many liberals emphasize that the school board and the plaintiffs in the 40-year-old case have come to an agreement, something so rareeven ”historic“that it should be honored and heralded.
Still, some observers don’t favor either method of ending the court order. They’re the ones who think it would be a dark day for Metro schools if the order were lifted.
”Lifting the court order is legally possible, but politically it’s imprudent,“ says Gene TeSelle, a Vanderbilt University Divinity School professor who, outside of his academic career, has established a reputation as an expert on desegregation.
”The U.S. Supreme Court has made it possible to lift court orders entirely,“ TeSelle says. But he is concerned that creating whole new zoning plans for Metro will only disturb the system again. ”Racial dynamics will become very important, once again, in where people decide to go,“ he warns.
TeSelle authored a special report on Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education, a book by Gary Orfield and Susan E. Eaton. According to TeSelle’s article, Orfield and Eaton warn that the advances of the Brown decision in 1954 and the Swann vs. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education case in 1971, which mandated the dismantling of segregated school systems, ”have been systematically undercut.“
In more recent years, the remedies ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court in those two cases have been interpreted by the court as only ”temporary punishment“ for segregated schools, the authors say. The Supreme Court has offered ”judicial absolution“ to school systems after what TeSelle characterizes as ”a short period of penance.“
Orfield and Eaton attempt to debunk a series of theories related to court-ordered desegregation. Among them are the beliefs that busing is a ”failed experiment,“ that desegregation ignores or opposes improving education, and that desegregation actually causes white flight.
Local attorney Larry Woods also favors the continuation of the court order, saying a new school assignment pattern will be chaotic and divisive for Nashville. Woods predicts that Mayor Bredesen’s proposed 12-cent tax increase, which would substantially fund the school board’s desegregation plan and lead to the elimination of the court order, might prompt further court action.
”What you may see, if and when the Metro Council approves the money, is some groups trying to intervene in the federal court case,“ he cautions.
While Woods says challengers who want to see the court order remain probably won’t be allowed to intervene in the case, their protest would at least indicate that there’s not necessarily a consensus about lifting the order.
@peoplepowernow: So you're saying gays are just extremely friendly to each other but do not…
Not all builders are the bad guys. Plenty of us build size and style appropriate…
It being Christmas time...I worry about Rulpod Red Nose Raindeer' other end...
I don't know, lot guys in Duckwear, enjoy squealing like a pig.....Maybe,he planning remake of…
In regards to Rhio Hirsch's response "Not too jazzed" I have to speak up as…