Can’t we all finally agree that government should not discriminate against people based on race or ethnicity?
Despite all the progress made in this country to give minorities equal access to public facilities such as schools, a newer, equally toxic form of discrimination has taken hold of some government officials, who would eagerly discriminate as long as such discrimination is done in the name of integration, equality or other politically correct fixations.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to consider two cases dealing with discrimination and schools. The court will consider appeals from parents in Washington state and Kentucky who claim their children have faced such discrimination.
In Seattle, the school district allows students to attend the high school of their choice — but it won’t let certain students attend certain schools if it throws off the dictated racial balance. In Louisville, the district embraces a policy reminiscent of 1970s-era busing, where it assigns students to schools in order to meet a predetermined racial balance. According to published reports, 1,000 school districts nationwide embrace some sort of racial-oriented attendance policy.
San Clemente, Calif., parents last year filed a lawsuit in state court against Capistrano Unified School District, arguing that the district determined its high school boundaries to achieve minority enrollments of no more than 35 percent in each school. The superintendent acknowledged that race and ethnicity were parts of the boundary decisions. The Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents the parents, argued that “the policy is unconstitutional. Proposition 209 amended the state constitution to tell schools (and other state and local agencies) that they ‘shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.’”
That case is continuing, and Capistrano Unified is unlikely to prevail given the decision in Crawford vs. Huntington Beach Union High School District. In 2002, the California Supreme Court let stand an appellate opinion ruling that the district’s “policy of denying some students transfers within the district in order to maintain ethnic balance discriminated against white students and violated the Constitution as amended by Proposition 209,” according to a Los Angeles Times report. That was a sensible decision.
Supporters of state-sanctioned discrimination are on shaky legal and moral ground as they willingly use government to achieve the racial balances they prefer. It was terrible when public schools discriminated against minority students, treating them as second-class citizens who were shuttled to their own schools.
But it’s also wrong to use government to forcibly integrate schools. Such actions send the message that a student’s race or ethnic heritage is more significant than his or her value as an individual. They cause real harm to individual students by denying an opportunity to attend the school of their choice.
Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Sharon Browne said the high court’s decision will not affect California because of Prop. 209, but the case will be quite significant in every other state. Let’s hope the high court rules in a way that affirms the spirit of Prop. 209 nationwide. The government “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” Let’s all agree on that simple notion.