Legislature needs to act on racial balance

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Has there been any discussion of legislative remediation of the problems arising from the state Board of Education’s racial/ethnic balance mandate?

I believe the record shows that after the verdict in Sheff vs O’Neill, the legislature directed the state board to devise a policy on racial balance and, shortly thereafter, the legislature enacted into law the state board’s proposal (a one-size-fits-all program which now is outdated and counterproductive). To sum up, the legislature gave us this law.

The legislators I have contacted agree that change is needed, but say any proposal of change would not pass. Do they truly believe that a majority of their colleagues are concerned more with the racial/ethnic make-up of their child’s class than about the quality of the teaching and educational tools that child receives?

Surely, now, before the start of the next session, our legislators could initiate quiet talks with their colleagues to build support for reconsideration of this flawed and costly law. At the very least, couldn’t they ask for a resolution which suspends enforcement of the mandate for several years during which time its educational (and countereducational) value could be reviewed?

The legislative process moves slowly, but probably no more slowly that a judicial challenge will move. I would welcome a public comment by our legislators, while the public hearings on this subject are being held.


Marian Phillips

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