Interested in the Little Rock School District fight against federal Judge Brian Miller’s surprise order to end state funding of magnet school programs?
Here’s the Little Rock School District appeal brief. It’s a useful history of the state’s repeated effort to 1) encourage segregation in Pulaski County and 2), in the years since the 1989 settlement, to get around its terms. The interdistrict remedies — magnet schools and interdistrict transfers for racial balance — were not contemplated to be ended by “unitary status” of the three districts (still unattained for Pulaski and North Little Rock), the brief notes. Heller notes pointedly, too, the state’s duty to monitor and enforce efforts to end disparities in education. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel — and Judge Miller — made a lot of noise lately about the failure of the three districts to achieve this goal while standing largely silent on the state’s failures.
In any case, Heller argues, the interdistrict remedies for state-sponsored segregation are separate matters from intradistrict issues.
The interdistrict remedy addresses state-imposed residential segregation by allowing LRSD’s African-American students to leave their one-race, neighborhood schools and to attend a truly desegregated LRSD magnet school or a majority-white PCSSD school via an M-to-M transfer. The districts’ intradistrict desegregation plans address past intentional discrimination against African- Americans by requiring the districts to implement certain policies and programs to ensure fairness and equity in the operation of the districts, including intradistrict student assignments.
Significantly, the Little Rock district argues that, should all three districts be unitary, it would not end the state’s interdistrict obligations.