Court invalidates law considering race in school transfer
Federal Judge Robert Dawson has struck down a state law that bars interdistrict public school transfers based on race.
Specifically, the law prevents a student transfer to a district with a greater percentage of students of the transferring student's race. The case arose in Malvern, where whites were seeking to transfer to the virtually all-white Magnet Cove, a move prohibited by a 1989 state law. An earlier suit, against the 60 percent white Malvern district, was dismissed because it wasn't the proper defendant.
The state Board of Education was defendant in this case, along with Magnet Cove. Here's the 32-page ruling.
Dawson seemed to hold the door open to a consideration of race, but said it couldn't be the sole determinant, and he refused to approve a transfer for the families seeking them.
Invalidation of the entire law does bring into question the 15,600 students, about three-fourths of whom are white, currently attending school outside their districts. I'm awaiting a response from the state Education Department. The governor's office said it was conferring with the attorney general's office, which defended the state, on what comes next. Any new law tailored to overcome the judge's objections will be the work of the 2013 legislature. For now, the ruling doesn't appear to open the door to a flood of transfers this fall.
Read more on Arkansas Times