By Philip Tegeler (University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, June 2014).
Excerpt: “The Department of Education already has the policy levers it needs to engage more forcefully with states and local districts to promote school diversity and reduce racial and economic isolation in public schools. The Department can exercise its unused Title VI authority to require states and districts, as a basic condition of Title I funding, to undertake proactive equity assessments that include an analysis of the discriminatory and segregative impacts of major policy and funding decisions, and to take steps to ameliorate these impacts. It can use its competitive grant programs to encourage innovative efforts to reduce racial and economic isolation of students at the state and local level, and it can require regular data reporting that will demonstrate whether a state or district is moving toward greater segregation or integration. The Department’s existing statutory framework authorizes and even encourages all of these actions. The Department of Education’s ongoing refusal to act within its existing authority to encourage integration is a denial of the “moral and ethical obligation” that Justice Kennedy described in Parents Involved.”