|Suburban DC School District
Defies Judge: Practices Racial Preferences!
Judge Reverses Arlington School Board
for Second Year Running!
(April 24, 1998) Arlington,
Virginia is a suburb of Washington, DC. Being in such close proximity to President
Bill Clinton, it is no surprise that the Arlington school board feels that admitting the
"right number" of minorities into Arlington's schools is more important than
fair and equal treatment under the law.
Arlington Traditional School starts 'em young: At the tender age of 5 years old,
kindergartners here are taught that race is more important than academic qualifications,
achievement, AND the constitution! Thats quite a civics lesson for 5 year olds!
According to the Washington Post today, the Arlington County School Board has once again
violated a Judge's order prohibiting them from holding race-based lotteries to determine
admissions to their school. Quite an example to set for those impressionable young minds,
don't you think?
District Judge Albert Bryan is a tad unhappy with the Arlington County School Board. It
seems that a year ago he had also ordered them to stop using race-based
lotteries to determine school admissions.
year, on April 14, Judge Bryan ruled (once again) that the school's racially-weighted
lottery was not Constitutional. The school officials had set up the lottery to favor
Blacks, Hispanics, low-income households, and just about anyone who did not speak
English as their first language. Honest! The school's admissions formula gave
preference to students who do not speak English as their first language over
English-speaking students! With your tax dollars!
Judge Bryan's current ruling negates the school's stated rationale of making the school
"as ethnically, economically and linguistically diverse" as the school district.
The Judge's order voided the current admission of 46 kindergarten students who had been
admitted on the basis of Arlingtons racially-weighted lottery system.
Here's a racial breakdown of the admissions and rejections using Arlington's
"diversity formula", as reported by the Washington Post:
|1998 Race-Based Admissions:
||1998s Rejected Students:
|54 percent "non-Hispanic white"
||74 percent "non-Hispanic white"
|26 percent "Hispanic"
||4 percent "Hispanic"
|11 percent "Black"
||8 percent "Black"
|9 percent "Asian"
||14 percent "Asian"
Another, similar "reverse discrimination" law suit is pending from a neighboring
school district in Arlington which also likes to use racially-weighted admissions
Adversity.Net may be wrong here, but didn't the original Civil Rights Act seek to strike
down this kind of racial discrimination?
May 25, 1998 Updates:
(Fri., May 8, 1998): Yesterday, the
Board for the Arlington Traditional School finally complied with the Judge's order and
held their new "non-racially-biased" lottery for the 46 available kindergarten
racial breakdown of yesterday's lottery is not available.
Board isn't through with its campaign to alienate parents in this county, however. The
Board is using Arlington County tax dollars to appeal the Judge's decision. Does
Arlington have a line-item in their school budget for fighting the Constitution?
better use of these tax dollars would be to expand the Arlington Traditional School to
admit more students!
its coverage of yesterday's lottery, the liberal Washington Post soft-pedals Arlington's
previous racist admissions policies by stating that "school officials sometimes
passed over white students who had placed high in an admissions lottery in order to
increase minority enrollment." As if the fact that it only happened
"sometimes" makes it any less reprehensible!
Maybe the U.S. Congress should appoint a Control Board for the Arlington County Schools
like they did for DC!
(Sat., May 23, 1998): Another Arlington school was forced to throw
out racially-weighted lottery results this week. Arlington's H-B Woodlawn
alternative school held a new, completely random (non-biased) admissions lottery,
following the lead of the Arlington Traditional School.
H-B Woodlawn alternative school threw out an admissions lottery conducted earlier this
year which had been weighted to favor of certain racial and ethnic groups. The
school board was afraid that the original, racially-biased lottery would not stand up to
judicial review following Judge Bryan's ruling on the unconstitutionality of the Arlington
Traditional School lottery.
this keeps up, maybe parents of non-minority school age children in this suburb of
Washington, DC will regain confidence that their kids will be treated equally and without
racial bias in their own tax-supported public schools!
Aug. 25, 1998 Update:
Clinton's "Pro-Quota" Dept. of Justice
Joins the Fight: U.S. District Judge Albert Bryan has twice ruled that the
Arlington school's racially-biased admissions lottery was unconstitutional. But
that isn't good enough for Bill Lann Lee and the Clinton Justice Department.
Washington Post reported today that DOJ filed a "friend of the court" brief in
the controversy, in which DOJ strongly defends the use of racial quotas and preferences in
school admissions, especially at the elementary and secondary school level.
Arlington school board has appealed U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan's second ruling
throwing out their race-based admissions. The appeal was filed in July 1998 with the
4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA.
Lee's Civil Rights Division at DOJ has filed a friend of the court brief with the 4th U.S.
Circuit, arguing speciously that "a long series of Supreme Court and lower court
decisions have recognized the importance of racial integration" in the schools.
What DOJ's amicus brief does not present are the long and more recent list of court
decisions which clearly establish that race-based admissions policies are not allowed, and
in virtually every case the use of such quotas is found by the courts to fail the
"strict scrutiny" test.
Lann Lee's quota-supporting friends have also joined in supporting Arlington's
appeal: the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens have also joined
the school board in its appeal.
entry into the fray represents a "last gasp" grab for the minority vote by the
Clinton administration and by his helpers like Bill Lee. Many legal experts believe
it is just a matter of time before the Supreme Court completely outlaws racially-weighted
school admissions. Clint Bolick of the Institute for Justice predicts the high court
will probably use a case very much like Arlington's to make the point that racial
admissions are against the law.
Nov. 21, 1998 Update:
Related News: A federal
appeals court ruled on 11/19/98 that Boston Latin School's race-based admissions policies
are unconstitutional. Additionally, the court ordered Boston Latin School (a public
"college prep" school) to admit a white girl, Sarah Wessmann, who has been suing
the school for two years over their refusal to admit her because she is white. This
precedent setting case will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the recalcitrant
Arlington School Board who have been fighting court decisions against reverse
discrimination in school admissions for several years. Stay tuned!
ruling takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of Arlington, VA in its appeal to keep
racial admissions quotas.
Jan. 25, 1999 Update:
County): Lawsuits Test Race's Role in School Admissions (01/25/99)
Washington area court cases have drawn the attention of educators and legal experts
nationwide as a key test of whether public elementary and secondary schools have the right
to admit and reject students based on their race. On Wednesday, attorneys for the
Arlington School Board will argue before a federal appeals court in Richmond that it
should overturn a judge's order barring an alternative school in the county from using an
admissions system that favors black and Hispanic children.
"Later this year, the same court will hear an appeal from the parents of a white
Montgomery County first-grader who was told that he could not transfer to a math and
science magnet program because it would leave his neighborhood school with too few white
students. The cases are being watched closely, because the U.S. Supreme Court has
never ruled on whether elementary and secondary schools can impose admissions restrictions
in order to achieve racial balance, and there have been few other court rulings on the
"Stephan Thernstrom, a Harvard University history professor who testified against the
admissions system used at the Boston school, welcomes the legal challenges. 'It is
disgusting and harmful and immoral and unconstitutional for the state to be treating
pupils not as individuals but as members of racial and ethnic groups,' he said."
"Arlington and Montgomery appear to be the only Washington area school systems that
decided on their own to consider race as a factor in admissions. Prince George's
County [Maryland suburb to DC] promotes racial diversity in its magnet schools under a
policy that stems from a court desegregation order [which order is soon to end].
"In November, a federal appeals court ruled against an effort to limit the number of
white students at a public magnet school in Boston [See also: Boston
Latin School]. Many educators and legal observers think the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Richmond will take the same position." (Washington Post, 01/25/99,
Page B01, by Jay Mathews and Ellen Nakashima)
Nov. 4, 1999 Update:
According to the Washington Post, a two-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals denied the Arlington School Boards request to rehear a lawsuit against
Arlingtons racial quota admissions policies. The policy had earlier been struck down
by U.S. District Judge Albert Bryan who had to order the school board three times to
dismantle the racial quota program.
Following Judge Bryans third order, with which Arlington finally complied, the
school board in July 1998 filed an appeal of the decision with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals in Richmond, VA.
Following the loss of their appeal before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Tue.,
11/02/99) Arlington has 90 days to consider carrying their appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Recently, neighboring Montgomery County (Maryland) decided to appeal a similar anti-quota
ruling (issued by the same court) to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Based on
Washington Post News in Brief 11/04/99)
Also: Montgomery County to Argue Quotas
to High Court.
Links on this Issue:
See Also: The Topeka
Capital-Journal Nov. 29, 1998 -- Affirmative action debate
moves to public school districts
An excellent overview of the impact
of recent court decisions banning "race-based admissions" in public high schools
and grade schools. Arlington, VA kindergarten; Boston Latin School; Montgomery
County, MD. Almost 50 yrs. after the landmark "Brown vs. Board of
Education" decision, public schools must now cope with a long-overdue end to forced
racial admissions. (Also published in the New York
See Also: NY Times Nov. 28,
1998 - Undated/Undecided Desegration Plan
"Lowell's admissions policy
has been changed to create one cutoff for all applicants, but for 20 percent of the class
it (also) takes into account other factors like socioeconomic status and personal
achievement." (New York Times 11/28/98)
See Also: Education Week May
21, 1997 -- Judge Rejects Race-Based Admissions to Va.
Magnets (dead link, formerly at
See Also: Education Week Apr.
30, 1997 -- Racial Quotas in
Desegregation Case Rejected
See Also: Washington Post
Aug. 25, 1998 -- U.S. Backs Arlington in Suit
(dead link; see article by Jay Matthews, appearing on page D1 of the Aug. 25 print
edition. Former link location:
See Also: Washington Post
Nov. 20, 1998 -- Race-Based School Policy Struck Down!
(dead link; former location was:
Montgomery County, Maryland Denies Racial
Washington Post and
Associated Press stories about similar racial quota case in Montgomery County,
Maryland. Court overturns use of racial quotas in public school assignments.
9: Arlington Kindergarten Quotas