Sfusd - Consent Decree

In: Social Issues

Submitted By crossroad
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Pages 7
A Brief History of the San Francisco Unified School District and the Consent Decree)
Reconstitution was introduced as part of educational reform in San Francisco through a process by which the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), the State Department of Education (CDE), and the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP settled the latter’s 1978 desegregation lawsuit. The 1983 settlement, known as the Consent Decree, was a SFUSD-driven document reluctantly accepted by the NAACP lawyers. The presiding judge, William Orrick, cautioned the NAACP lawyers to not go to trial since he did not see how they could win their case. They would not be able to prove that the SFUSD intentionally promoted or maintained segregated schools. As a result, the NAACP lawyers could demand only what the SFUSD and the CDE were willing to concede.
The concessions were gained, however, by paying a heavy political price. By accepting a place at the negotiating table, the San Francisco NAACP acquiesced to the exclusion of teachers, Latinos, and Asian Americans from the table. The latter three groups all filed lawsuits during the life of the Consent Decree demanding that they, too, be parties to the desegregation settlement. Judge Orrick consistently denied their claims, explaining to them that the San Francisco NAACP was able effectively to represent Latino and Asian American interests and the district office would represent the interests of the teachers. This would prove illusory when lawyers representing Chinese American students filed suit against the desegregation policies of the Consent Decree. Furthermore, as part of the Consent Decree, the district’s accountability tool for all schools (called “reconstitution”) was “shielded from the normal political process” (Ruiz-de-Velasco, 1998; p. 14). This shut out any community influence upon reform in the district. Hoping for the…...

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