Posted on July 9, 2018

Segregation? What Segregation? Arkansas Doesn’t Want to Hear About It

Max Brantley, Arkansas Times, July 6, 2018

The state Board of Education will meet July 12 and the agenda includes still further tightening of school transfer rules to make it extremely difficult to claim resegregation as a ground for a district’s refusal to participate. And that’s not all. If there is a segregative effect, the state doesn’t want to know about it.


The old rule said districts could opt out from transfers if they conflicted “with a provision of an enforceable desegregation court order or a district’s court-approved desegregation plan. {snip}


See, back when courts were ordering school districts to desegregate there WERE NO INTERDISTRICT TRANSFERS so there was no need for an explicit limitation. A handful of districts that have been hit hard by transfers for racial reasons have gone back to court to correct that. I wrote here about Hope, Camden Fairview and Lafayette County. The Walton-financed school choice crowd, which includes Education Commissioner Johnny Key, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and most of the state Board, prefers a world where residency has no relationship to school attendance, particularly if it hinders likes from clustering with likes in preferred settings. A better option is the egalitarian school model, improved for all, and were the poorer kids aren’t segregated from the proven benefits of exposure to the luckier born.

But this is a particularly invidious part of the new rule. If there IS to be increased racial and economic segregation thanks to unfettered school transfers, the state officially doesn’t want to know about it. {snip}

In short, as I’ve written before: State-sanctioned segregation, under the 1960s segregationist euphemism of “freedom of choice” is now both law and rule in Arkansas. {snip}