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USDOE's Friday Surprise

I have no idea whether USDOE’s guidance today on the use of race in school assignments (blog by Ed Week’s Lesli Maxwell) is a common-sense extension of federal court decisions or a policy push, but the release of the guidelines on a Friday (which signals a “this is not news we want people to pay attention to”) is inconsistent with the joint release by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education (the coordination of which says “this is a big deal” to me).

The advice for K-12 schools appears to validate race-neutral approaches for individual-student decisions and to push heavily at Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in the Parents Involved (2006) case, where he indicated that a school district might well be able to use race explicitly where using population-level data for actions such as school siting decisions or attendance-zone decisions.

I would love to know the extent to which the White House was involved in this.

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Sherman Dorn

Sherman Dorn is the Director of the Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation at the Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, and editor...