NCSD2015: Workshop A2

New Directions in Desegregation Enforcement  

This workshop will explore the continuing role of federal and state enforcement in advancing school integration. What are the lessons from recent enforcement wins – and losses? Is enforcement of consent orders from the 1970s and 1980s still a viable alternative? How can federal law adapt to some of the new challenges to integration, like school district secession, interdistrict disparities, and segregation? What is the future of school integration advocacy under state law? FEATURING:

  • Kelly Gardner, Educational Opportunities Section, Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice
  • John BrittainProfessor of Law, University of District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
  • Myron OrfieldProfessor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School and Director, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity
  • Mark DorosinManaging AttorneyCenter for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill
  • Maree SneedPartner, Hogan Lovells

Moderated by Derek BlackProfessor of Law, University of South Carolina School of Law



This law-heavy workshop kicked off with Kelly Gardner’s description of the “education docket” of the DOJ’s civil rights division, including the DOJ’s ongoing enforcement of active desegregation cases from the 1970s and 1980s, where there are still continuing issues of separate and unequal school resources and facilities (see a list of these continuing consent decrees here). Then Professor John Brittain and Mark Dorosin engaged in a spirited “debate” about the efficacy of intervention in these older cases – particularly where local districts were seeking “unitary status” – using the recent Pitt County, North Carolina decision as a case in point (see their back and forth debate below). Professor Myron Orfield moved the discussion to the state law level, demonstrating the state of Minnesota’s retreat from its earlier commitment to housing and school integration, and the impact of charter schools on segregation in the Minneapolis metro area (see Myron’s presentation here). School attorney Maree Sneed from Hogan Lovells described her firm’s commitment to “a different way to represent school districts” proactively and in support of values of diversity and equity. Sneed highlighted the terms of the recently settlement in the Huntsville schools case as a model for the creative use of the courts in achieving school district goals.



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