Past Conferences & Events (2009)

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Reaffirming the Role of School Integration in K-12 Education Policy: A Conversation Among Policymakers, Advocates and Educators

Nov. 13, 2009
Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.

Conference Brochure | Video

This conference brought together a wide range of government officials to converse with over 300 educators, civil rights advocates and scholars who support racially and economically integrated K-12 public schools.

U.S. CapitolNew Initiatives for Integrated Education in the Obama Era: Reversing the Resegregation of the Past Two Decades

June 12, 2009
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

Program | Video

The Center for Civil Rights, the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at UCLA, the University of Georgia Education Policy and Evaluation Center, and the Forum for Education and Democracy co-convened a briefing on Capitol Hill for policymakers and others committed to racially integrated public schools across the nation.

Representative Chaka Fattah, whose efforts to promote a Student Bill of Rights and an Opportunity to Learn Commission address many of the inequities found in segregated schools, co-hosted the event.

The briefing, moderated by Gary Orfield of the Civil Rights Project, drew on the expertise of nationally acclaimed social scientists and lawyers, and focused on the immediate and long-term policy options available to promote racial school integration. Francisco Negron of the National School Boards Association responded. Attendees had meaningful opportunities to share ideas and strategize about:

  • What we know and what we need to know to make the case for racially integrated education;
  • Future policy directions for achieving racial equity in schools;
  • Efforts to build political will for integrated schools; and,
  • Experiences-to-date with socioeconomic based student assignment plans.

The following papers were included on the panel:

  • "School Racial Composition and Young Children's Cognitive Development: Isolating Family, Neighborhood and School Influences," Douglas D. Ready & Megan R. Silander, Teachers College, Columbia University;
  • "Racially Integrated Education and the Role of the Federal Government, Chinh Q. Le, Seton Hall University;
  • "Using Regional Coalitions to Address Socioeconomic Isolation: The Creation of the Nebraska Learning Community Agreement," Jennifer Jellison Holme, Sarah Diem & Katherine Cumings Mansfield, University of Texas at Austin;
  • "Federal Legislation to Promote Metropolitan Approaches to Educational and Housing Opportunities," Elizabeth DeBray-Pelot, University of Georgia & Erica Frankenberg, University of California, Los Angeles; and,
  • "Is Class Working? An Update on Socioeconomic Student Assignment Plans in Wake County, NC and Cambridge, MA," Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, University of California, Los Angeles.

To read about the briefing, view the following articles.

Beth Glenn, the Forum Gary Orfield, CRP

Doug Ready, Columbia Chinh Le, Seton Hall

Jennifer Jellison Holme, UT-Austin Elizabeth DeBray-Pelot, UGA

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, UCLA Francisco Negron, NSBA

Audience Q and A

Looking to the Future: Legal and Policy Options for Racially Integrated Education in the South and the Nation

ChildrenApril 2, 2009
Chapel Hill, NC

Conference Brochure PDF | SupplementPDF | Video

When federal courts began vigorously enforcing the Brown v. Board of Education decision in the late 1960s, Southern public schools became the most integrated in the country and held that distinction for more than 30 years. Recently, schools in the South and throughout the United States have experienced rapid resegregation, disproportionately excluding the growing population of African American and Latino students from equal educational opportunities and access to social capital.

This conference focused on the future of public education in the wake of the United States
Supreme Court's 2007 decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (PICS). The PICS decision is widely known for placing limits on what school districts can do to voluntarily pursue racially integrated schools. But the PICS decision also is important for what it left in place. In PICS, a majority of justices affirmed that school districts have a compelling interest in promoting diversity and avoiding racial isolation in public schools. Even though PICS limits how school districts may pursue voluntary integration, the decision, nonetheless, protects their fundamental right to craft creative integration plans for their local schools.

Today our nation stands at a crossroads. We can do nothing and allow a half century of legal and social victories for our nation's children to be reversed; or we can apply our knowledge to address the resegregation crisis.

This conference was designed to heighten scholarly understanding of the PICS decision and promote discussion about immediate and long-term policy options available to school districts across the nation for whom racial integration remains a priority. On April 2nd, more than 20 nationally acclaimed social scientists and attorneys convened, presented papers, and discussed topics including:

  • Making the Case for Integration
  • Finding Viable Legal Strategies for Racial Equity post-PICS
  • Evaluating Socioeconomic Based Student Assignment Plans
  • Building Political Will for Integrated Schools post-PICS
  • Achieving Racial Equity through Strategic Public Policies

With approximately 250 attendees -- including scholars, researchers and students in the fields of education, public policy and the law, as well as attorneys, legal and policy advocates, community leaders, journalists, political commentators, and members of the public interested in integrated education -- this 2009 conference was a resounding success.

To learn more about our conference co-conveners visit:

Dean Boger and John Brittain Professor Daye and Dean Pierce

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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