Promise, *policy and process: An examination of the use of educational equity litigation to address racial and economic isolation of urban education

Malik C Edwards, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This dissertation presents a case study analyzing educational equity litigation, both race and finance-based, as a means to address the racial and economic isolation of schools and the resulting cost to urban school districts. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) established the concept of education to be a fundamental right and the notion that racial segregation was offensive to that right. Over the last fifty years, guided by educational researchers, this project examined the process by which the legal discourse on educational equity remedies shifted from traditional equity-based remedies like desegregation and school funding to adequacy-based remedies that focus on performance gaps on high stakes assessments. Also examined were the implications of this shift for future litigation-based educational equity reform. ^ Legal analysis entailed the examination of state and federal litigation documents from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut courts. The court opinions in these cases were evaluated, along with briefs filed in support of the litigation and relevant supporting documents. Additionally, several interviews were conducted with individuals who participated in the litigations and with experts on educational equity litigation. ^ The analysis indicated that, across contexts, state and federal as well as finance and race-based, remedies tend to evolve that concentrate on adequacy. However, there was continuing support of the integrative ideal in state court decisions that was not translated into policy. Thus, future integration based remedies should be linked to research that demonstrates the connection between racial and economic isolation and achievement disparities, and which links integration and academic success. ^

Subject Area

Law|Education, Administration

Recommended Citation

Malik C Edwards, "Promise, *policy and process: An examination of the use of educational equity litigation to address racial and economic isolation of urban education" (January 1, 2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI3225506.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3225506

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