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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 28, 2007 7:59 AM. The previous post in this blog was Choking a skateboarder *is* a crime. The next post in this blog is Correction: Tonight's McKay speech is not free. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Latest casualty of the Bush Court

Racially balanced schools. Boy, Tony Scalia's getting everything on his PDA to-do list done faster than I ever thought he would.

Comments (32)

The two school systems in Thursday's decisions employ slightly different methods of taking students' race into account when determining which school they would attend.

Now that's just stupid. What's wrong with just doing it by neighborhood like normal?

I wonder if the naiive Democrats who voted to confirm Roberts and Alito are still under the mistaken impression that they'll "respect precedent" when deciding on whether or not to overturn Roe? These guys are straight from the wingnut hall of fame--and, like Scalia and Thomas, they've already made up their minds on every issue...the hardest part for them is deciding which of their kool-aid drinking clerks will write the opinions.

Sorry, but the court is correct, my belief is that quotas have always been wrong and not what this country was founded on. If you compete for a job it should be on the merits of who you are and what skills you have not the color of your skin or your gender (or sexual preference). If you don't like the school your kid is going to either move or go through the paperwork to move them to a different school (NCLB has opened up these opportunities). I agree with the court and have always felt that quotas were not how the founding fathers meant the country to be.

I agree with the court

Thanks for that important insight.

not how the founding fathers meant the country to be.

They'd also be a little upset that you took away their slaves.

the mistaken impression that they'll "respect precedent"

To me the saddest part is Kennedy. It didn't take him long after O'Connor disappeared to go completely over to the dark side.

they've already made up their minds

We could save a modest amount of tax money by eliminating the four superfluous jurists from the Court -- or, for that matter, eliminating the Court entirely, since it is now possible to predict the outcomes of cases before it with confidence.

Today's fantasy: Chief "Justice" Roberts presiding over the impeachment trial of Dick Cheney.

Forget Brown vs. Board of Ed. Our nation hasn't even achieved the dream of Plessy vs. Ferguson. We are living with racially separate-and-unequal schools, and that's our nation's current great tragedy.

Why not do it by neighborhood? Because our neighborhoods are racially segregated, which means the schools are racially segregated, which violates Brown vs. Board of Ed. But Brown doesn't matter anymore. In fact, neither does Plessy.

But hey, count your blessings -- we've liberated Iraq and made America a lot safer in the process.

Impeach Cheney. Do it for the kids.

A constitutional law reminder to "Native Portlander" ... the country also wasn't founded with the 14th Amendment; that took a civil war. Roberts seems to dream of a time before that kind of messiness made it so difficult to be a rich and powerful white guy.

Big surprise, I disagree with the libs again! :P

I agree with Native Portlander, this government-backed discrimination is wrong, even if it means well. You can't mandate equality via discrimination.

Thomas: "'The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students' race. Because 'our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,' such race-based decisionmaking is unconstitutional.''

I agree.

Thomas: "'The plans before us base school assignment decisions on students' race. Because 'our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens,' such race-based decisionmaking is unconstitutional.''

That this statement comes from Poppy Bush's quota pick is hilarious indeed.

What's so funny about it, Dave? Our schools are paid for by all races, creeds and income levels -- sans anyone living in one of Portland's many Urban Renewal zones.

Parents should be able to choose what schools their child attends,. They shouldn't be forced to send their kid to a school that's not "diverse enough."

What's so funny about it, Dave?

Funny because Thomas owes his current position to affirmative action (unless you think it was just a coincidence that he was selected to replace Thurgood Marshall, a true giant of the American legal system), yet he is constantly railing against it in his opinions.

So, maybe "funny" is not the right word. Perhaps "appaling hypocrisy that only a conservative could support" would be the better phrase.

If I had the opportunity to take advantage of a policy I didn't believe in for the opportunity to rally against it and correct what I felt was wrong, I'd do it. You're telling me you wouldn't?

Reasonable people often have disagreements about what the constitution allows or forbids. Why have a hissy fit over a decision that holds that a child and his parent should not be treated differently because of his or her race? Makes a certain amount of sense. I know that the "common sense" test infuriates the left, but it beats the "I know what is best for you, and you don't" democratic party pitch.

Maybe you need to buy a history book. "Common sense" has justified all sorts of wicked things.

And "I know what is best for you" hasn't? I think the solution is to give the people choice and let them decide for themselves using their own 'common sense' and the fact that they might, just *might*, know what's best for themselves.

Why not do it by neighborhood? Because our neighborhoods are racially segregated, which means the schools are racially segregated, which violates Brown vs. Board of Ed.

Neighborhoods may be racially segregated, but thats where people choose to live. And for most people, one of those deciding factors is the schools.

What's next? Quotas for neighborhoods?
Seems like there is always a new "good" reason to single people out because of the color of their skin. I was taught that was wrong. We are taking steps backward.


If I had the opportunity to take advantage of a policy I didn't believe in for the opportunity to rally against it and correct what I felt was wrong, I'd do it.

Oh my, this is analagous to the argument--"Do what I say, not what I do"

All one has to do is review the stats to see the disparity in income and education between blacks and whites. They don't lie. A few decades of affirmative action in education and the job market will never come close to making up for 200 plus years of slavery and second-tier citizen status.

Blimey, I almost agree with Jon, although I hope it’s for different reasons. The reasoning behind busing is lovely on paper (can’t we all just get along etc.) but in practice it mostly backfires. If you tell me that my daughter will be bussed four miles to Jefferson every morning to help diversity I will probably say no thank you, if only to avoid getting up an hour earlier. White flight is not an option as I’m allergic to the suburbs but private school (if I can fake being catholic) is pretty cheap. School districts (especially post measure 5) cannot afford to fix the world.

Thomas seems to be so full of self-loathing he could explode at any second. He’s living proof that the “hold you nose and think about the court” folks were right.

"Neighborhoods may be racially segregated, but thats where people choose to live. And for most people, one of those deciding factors is the schools."

Nobody would choose to live in a slum, and nobody would choose to send children to lousy schools. Would you? The status quo fossilizes class differences--in which race plays a factor--in a country that's supposed to have equal opportunity.

Even if you're right and people do "choose" poverty, the status quo is still unjust because it harms the innocent. Penalizing a 5-year-old child with a crappy school because his/her parents aren't savvy enough to game the system into a better one is shameful. The only answer is to make all schools equal--the dream of Plessy vs. Ferguson. But we're not close to that yet, let alone Brown vs. Board of Ed. We're not close to equal opportunity, and much of the difference correlates to race. That burns me up.

Did Thomas benefit so much from affirmative action? Or was it more from pandering to (white) Republicans?

Nobody would choose to live in a slum, and nobody would choose to send children to lousy schools. Would you?

No. See, thats a choice. Anybody can make that choice.

As for lousy schools, well, at least here we have equal funding.

As for equal opportunity, I think we would be a lot closer if we didnt keep dividing people up by race...which means stop affirmative action & such.

You've missed the point, Jon. If I denied you your education, you might not have the means to leave a crappy neighborhood. That's effectively what we as a nation are doing with the poor...using substandard education to sentence the vast majority of them to remain in the terrible neighborhoods, then shaking our heads and saying "Who'd choose to stay there?" Nobody would, Jon. It's not a choice. It's a permanent underclass.

In any event, you've ignored the second, more important half of my arguement, which is this: even if you're right and the parents have made a poor choice, why should we penalize their 5-year-old children, who have made no choices?

Why the hell shouldn't we have equal schools so that there's actually equal opportunity in this country that claims to stand for that?

I'm not asking for integration--my question doesn't even mention race. I'm setting aside Brown vs. Board of Education. Why can't we even attain the 1898 dream of Plessy vs. Ferguson? Do we even believe in separate but equal anymore? Do you?

Have you noticed that racists like Lars and his acolytes have switched tack on this? They used to start sentences with “I’m not a racist, but…..” Now everything is about being color blind and just wanting to treat everybody the same. Stephen Colbert has captured this beautifully with his whole “I don’t see color” shtick. If you find yourself agreeing with Colbert, even though you know it’s sarcastic, it may be time to question your beliefs.

teacherrefpoet got it perfectly. The right wants you to be defined by your parents. They claim to believe in the pull yourself up by your own bootstraps crap, but anything that might make that possible (or likely) is crushed. Hence if you get your income from luck of birth it’s sacred, god given, and cannot be touched. Others are either too lazy or have made bad choices. I’m thinking that this weekend we should encourage those in the worst parts of town to “choose” to move to Lake Oswego. They might like it.

I think you guys are being extremely naive in thinking that should the government provide a child the perfect education opportunities that that child will excel, which is pure BS. Myself and most of my friends graduated from Roosevelt and Jefferson, no doubt the two worst high schools in Portland. I believe there were 60 people in my graduating class. All of us received a very good education, much better than many of my friends who went to Lincoln, Central, Jesuit, and others. Know why? Because we as students wanted to excel and wanted to learn.

Most of my high school peers agreed that we probably got a better education out of Roosevelt or Jefferson because there were only a handful of students who *wanted* to do well and took advantage of the offers from teachers to stay after class and help us understand, use the school tutors, went to class, etc.

You can blame anyone you want to, but it all comes down to the student and their home/personal life. It's hilarious that if a kid chooses to skip class and smoke weed all day that 'somehow the system has failed them'. They've failed themselves. There are so many programs and resources for young people who want to learn, achieve, and excel that I just don't understand why you're still blaming the schools, the government, the - everyone except the individual. You guys really are allergic to the term 'personal responsibility', aren't you?

Joey,

Your point is on the money, and at no point have I seen anyone say anything to contradict it. In the end, kids need to be responsible for their own lives, but if we are to have equality of opportunity in this country, we need everyone to have an equal shot at a good education. That's simply not true now. With a few notable exceptions, students of means go to far better public schools than students without means--and, in most of the nation, to better-funded schools as well. We're not giving an equal shot to kids to succeed or fail on their own merits. If we were, then why did so many families, Black and White, in this Supreme Court case want to send their kids to a "better" school? Equal educational opportunity is a necessity if we want to be who we say we are as a nation.

“You guys really are allergic to the term 'personal responsibility', aren't you?” Yes I am. Hang on…......of course I’m effing not. All I’m saying is a child faced with a shitty school, low aspirations, a skin color that makes many people hate them instantly, and probably a myriad other issues has it much harder than most and some acknowledgment of that is in order. I say this as a 38-year-old who still doesn’t know what he wants to do when he grows up. So far this hasn’t hurt me as I’m white, went to a school with lots of rich kids, and I’m a privileged immigrant in a “do you know Oscar Wilde?” kind of way. If I was faced with what a lot of these children are I would have struggled and probably failed. A simple, observable fact.

The best solution I have seen to this was killed before it went anywhere in California: Give the top 10% of each high school guaranteed entry to the best state colleges. Right now it is the top 10% state wide, with the result that all UC campuses are full of females of Asian descent who went to school in the suburbs that surround high tech industries. If you make this change people will be fighting to get their kids into Jefferson.

jack: u have a problem with common sense? Methinks your liberal elitist side (is that the left brain?)is showing. Do you prefer uncommon senselessness? All school districts have to do is use income as a factor. This is allowed and some school districts are doing so. Blacks do not have a monopoly on poverty. i grew up poor, joined the Army to qualify for the GI bill and my kids are living high. Unlike Sherwood, i am not awash in guilt because of my skin color.

Max, congratulations on the inspiring story. For a black man such as you to rise through society despite the odds is great news. Maybe it proves that racism is dead or possibly that it never existed in the first place and was always just whining. Hang on.....I just noticed that you’re not black, so your fine story would have no relevance to the topic at hand.

Good point about the guilt thing. I’m pretty sure that life would be simpler without the burden of guilt or niggling feelings of responsibility. I often think that is why some people aspire to be foot soldiers for the Republican cause even though they work for a living and, therefore, receive nothing for their efforts. Those that inherit income instead of earning it, or think the earth is 6,000 years old, get a tangible (if depressing) return, but the remainder seem happy just with the belief that they are better than the lazy masses.


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