Although the Supreme Court struck down the voluntary race-based student-assignment plans employed in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. ] and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education as violative of the Equal Protection Clause, many school officials will seek refuge in Justice Kennedy's concurrence and continue their pursuit of racially diverse student bodies. This Article questions the wisdom of such a pursuit and urges school officials to pursue measures other than racial diversity to provide equal educational opportunities to minority students.
The Article begins with a discussion of the social, democratic, and educational benefits commonly attributed to racially diverse learning environments. After tracing the historical roots of the diversity rationale as employed in the education context and specifically by the school districts in the challenged cases, the Article asserts that the pursuit of racial diversity has come at a cost to the provision of equal educational opportunities to minority students. By equating diversity with educational equality, the pursuit of racial diversity has proven to be a distraction from the pursuit of equal educational opportunity. The Article argues that student body diversity is not the most effective approach for ensuring the provision of equal educational opportunities to minority students. Therefore, the Article urges school officials to reject the lure of Justice Kennedy's concurrence and instead craft and implement creative and effective initiatives that embrace and improve racially concentrated schools, rather than merely seeking to diversify them.
Eboni S. Nelson, Examining the Costs of Diversity, 63 U. Miami L. Rev. 577 (2009)