Supreme Court Race Ruling 'Judicial Activism'

| Fri Jun. 29, 2007 9:14 AM EDT

The U.S. Supreme Court reignited the debate over how to appropriately handle diversity in U.S. public schools when it overturned policies intended to diversify student enrollments in Jefferson County, Kentucky and in Seattle.

Political leaders called yesterday's ruling "appalling," "a terrible blow to school districts," and "judicial activism." Others said that the ruling gave racist school policies a "smackdown." Some are going so far as to say the ruling marks a return to segregation, while others claim that existing, binary (white and black) notions of race still cloud the debate.

It's worth noting that at least one of the original plaintiffs in the case was a white mother who was disappointed that her child didn't get accepted into her first school of choice. Many plaintiffs in the case (not necessarily white) were also pissed that schools were using race as a determining factor for "tiebreakers."

How educators define and treat race from here on out remains to be seen — since the ruling stopped short of prohibiting all consideration of race in K-12 education.

For an inside look at those involved in the Seattle case check out this MoJo interview with David Engle, former principal of Ballard High, who resigned rather than eliminate the racial tiebreaker at his school.