In what may be representative of a judicial sea change, a liberal federal judge recently ruled that a small town in Alabama would be allowed to secede from the failing Jefferson County school district. What’s so striking is that the town in question, Gardendale, Alabama, will produce a school district with almost 80 percent white students. The broader Jefferson Country School District is heavily black.
On its face, this would appear to represent the judge’s full-fledged sanctioning of official resegregation. While this may appear disturbing on first look, it’s necessary to appreciate the background of desegregation in American schools.
The original impulse to desegregate the nation’s schools came at a time of great hope for the future and giant strides being made in the furthering of Civil Rights for blacks. It was widely believed that the well known academic achievement gap could be solved by creating school conditions that were equal in every way between the races. This view was made all the more plausible by the near complete lack of data at the time. The radical social experiments, like forced busing, that would define the next 60 years had, at that time, never before been attempted.
Unfortunately, the federally mandated desegregation project of the last 60 years has been a spectacular failure. No longer can judges, educators and bureaucrats claim that these failed policies may have some merit. Trillions of dollars have been wasted and none of the goals of desegregation have been achieved. The jury has been in for years now, and judges are beginning to take notice.