Separate But Free

separate is inherently unfree. As this Article uniquely clarifies, segregation deprives schoolchildren of freedom to become equal citizens and freedom to learn in democratic, integrated, and transformative settings. We must name and reclaim these positive, social, emancipatory freedoms—envisioned by the framers of state constitution education clauses, developed by early progressives, reflected in the case law, and applied in “freedom schools” and by Southern Black teachers during the civil rights era.

Joshua E. Weishart

Constitutional Diversity in New York’s Specialized High Schools: The SHSAT, the Discovery Program, and the Fourteenth Amendment

Even if the SHSAT was an educational necessity, it would still violate disparate impact regulations if there was an alternative available that achieved the same objective with a less discriminatory impact. The NAACP LDF found that a multi-measured approach to admissions based on quantitative and qualitative portions of an application would be equal to or more effective than the SHSAT and would have a smaller discriminatory impact. While middle school grades could be a major component of an application, “teacher recommendations, proven leadership skills, a commitment to community service,” and demographic profiles could be used to assess a candidate’s academic and individual capabilities.

Brown’s Lost Promise: Segregation & Affirmative Action In New York City Specialized High Schools

New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. However, its schools remain some of the most segregated. The crown jewel of the City’s public education system, Specialized High Schools, are among the nation’s top public institutions. But in a city where over 60 percent of children are Black or Latinx, less than 10 percent of the students admitted into these prestigious schools come from these communities. Due to a 1971 New York state law, admission into the Specialized High Schools is granted solely on the basis of a standardized exam, the Specialized High School Admissions Test, which students can opt to take during their eighth grade.

Questions of Bias Are Raised About a Teachers’ Exam in New York

The earlier test that Judge Wood ruled was discriminatory, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test, was used until 2004. She said that because the minority candidates were failing that test in greater numbers, the burden was on public officials to prove the test served a valid purpose. In similar rulings, judges around the country have thrown out written exams for firefighters and police officers, ruling they were not relevant to the tasks they would perform.