Washington, D.C. — Today, on the 62nd anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced H.R. 5260, which would explicitly allow the use of disparate impact analysis in Title VI cases, among other things. Danyelle Solomon, Director of Progress 2050 at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The right to education is fundamental. Even 62 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized its importance by stating, “It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.” We must ensure that not only is that right available to all but that the quality of that education is equally shared. Today, the U.S. public education system has failed to live up to the goals of Brown v. Board. All Americans must work to embrace diversity in our schools, as it is not just a value but a critical element of what makes American society great. As our nation continues to become more ethnically and racially diverse, lawmakers must ensure that all American children have access to a quality public education.
CAP supports the efforts of Rep. Bobby Scott and others who seek to restore an important tool in fighting for justice. A private right of action is essential in many cases of racial discrimination, in which policies or practices appear neutral but have a negative, disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities. Giving teeth back to Title VI is essential to combating discrimination and inequality. The Government Accountability Office report released today sounded an alarm for how much work still needs to be done to ensure that all Americans receive equal access to a quality education.
In 2001, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval that overturned four decades of established law and made it more difficult for victims of discrimination to bring actions under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which had previously provided a private right of action for disparate impact cases. For decades, private lawsuits showing the disparate impact for communities of color in education, housing, and environmental justice have been successful in combating discrimination, and the results of the 2001 Supreme Court decision have been devastating. Today’s Government Accountability Office report highlights new data from the U.S. Department of Education confirming that race and poverty continue to be primary drivers for inequities in education.
For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya S. Arditi at email@example.com or 202.741.6258.