On July 22 a trial over the issue of racial segregation of students in Pitt County Schools (PCS) will begin at the Eastern District Federal Courthouse in Greenville, N.C. The UNC Center for Civil Rights (CCR) and co-counsel are representing a group of African-American parents and the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children (the plaintiffs) to reverse a PCS student assignment plan that they assert resegregated several schools in the district. At the same time, PCS will seek a declaration of “unitary status” and an end to over four decades of federal judicial oversight. A school district is considered unitary when it has eliminated the effects of past racial segregation to the extent practicable.
This is the first major unitary status case in North Carolina since 1999. Over 100 school districts across the South are still under court supervision, and many advocates involved in those districts will likely be monitoring this lawsuit to see how the case unfolds.
The UNC Center for Civil Rights are joined as Plaintiffs' counsel by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and Dechert LLP.
Media inquiries may be directed to the UNC Law School Communications Office (Allison Reid, 919.843.7148, firstname.lastname@example.org) or UNC Center for Civil Rights (Bethan Eynon, 919.590.9139, email@example.com). Time permitting, Center for Civil Rights attorneys will post updates on this blog as the trial progresses.
Read More... (On July 22, CCR represents Plaintiffs in historic Pitt County school desegregation trial)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. July 17, 2013 2:05 PM
Categories: Education, Pitt County, Race Discrimination, Segregation
The Center was invited to write for Teach For America's blog, Pass
the Chalk, to commemorate the Brown v. Board of Education anniversary.
We wrote about the spectrum of segregation and resegregation in North
Carolina as an example of this disturbing nationwide trend.
Halifax community members at a rally for education equality
Although racial segregation in public schools was held unconstitutional in 1954 by
Brown v. Board of Education,
massive resistance by segregationist state and local governments
prevented meaningful implementation of this landmark ruling for over a
decade. It wasn’t until the late 1960s, and in response to community
activism, litigation, and intervention by the federal government, that
the doors of educational opportunity were finally forced open to create
equal access for children of color.
Today, almost 60 years after
its promise of an integrated and equal education remains unfulfilled. The cross-exposure of black and white students—an important measure of integration—peaked in the mid-1980s but, by 2000 was even lower than in 1968.
Read More... (59 Years after Brown vs. Board of Ed, the Spectrum of Segregation Persists)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Thu. May 16, 2013 12:09 PM
Categories: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Education, Halifax County, Pitt County, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County
Center Education Fellow Taiyyaba Qureshi, with Jason Langberg, Director of Legal Aid NC's Push Out Prevention Project, and Eldrin Deas, PhD Candidate at UNC SChool of Education, authored an article in this month's Poverty and Race Research Action Council Journal on the need for education officials to be accountable through meaningful engagement with education stakeholders. The full article is available in the March/April PRRAC Journal.
Accountability in education must
include the idea that school systems have certain obligations to their
stakeholders. Traditional notions of accountability are mostly focused on
measuring performance outputs of students, teachers and principals, and fail to
identify metrics by which elected and appointed policymakers can be held
accountable for their actions. Unfortunately,
this trend has become even more prevalent as so-called market-based reforms (e.g.,
expanded high-stakes testing, merit pay, privitization) are adopted on the
federal, state and local levels. These policy changes in fact “de-form” democratic
principles of good governance and fairness, which require that school system
leaders be held accountable to the community. Over the past four years,
education policymakers and community advocates in Wake County, North Carolina
demonstrated that such accountability is essential to creating a healthy
relationship between the school district and the community it serves and to
producing high-quality, equitable outcomes for students.
Read More... (Community-Based Accountability: Best Practices for School Officials)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. March 20, 2013 9:16 AM
Categories: Education, Wake County
In a recent "Race and the Law" series, Center staff and UNC Law School professors reenacted excerpts from the oral arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas. The case was heard at the US Supreme Court on October 10, 2012. UNC School of Law Dean Jack Boger. CCR Attorneys Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix, and the UNC Office of University Counsel filed an an amicus brief on behalf of the University of North Carolina in this case.
Center Deputy Director Charles Daye played the role of Chief Justice Roberts. Center attorneys Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix and UNC Law professors Eric Muller, Erika Wilson, Al Brophy, and Catherine Kim played other Justices. Community Inclusion Fellow Bethan Eynon read the position of Petitioner Fisher, Education Fellow Taiyyaba Qureshi took the part of Respondent University of Texas, and Equal Justice Works Fellow Peter Gilbert acted as US Solicitor General.
Watch the video below:
Read More... (CCR Staff, UNC Law Professors perform Fisher vs. TX arguments)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Mon. January 14, 2013 12:01 AM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Education, Race and the Law Series, Race Discrimination
UNC Pro Bono Students Dan Hemme and Nate Creger at Pitt County Election Protection Presentation
for Civil Rights attorneys and UNC Law Pro Bono Students have continued to
present voter education programs in communities across the state. These non-partisan public education and
information presentations are part of Center’s participation in the national Election
In addition to
this community outreach, the Center will again be coordinating the North
Carolina call center for the Election Protection Hotline on Election Day, November
6. Voters anywhere in the state can call
1.866.OUR.VOTE (866.687.8683) or 1.888.VE.Y.VOTA (888.839.8682) with questions
about their rights and the voting process. Trained UNC Law students and
faculty, with other community volunteers, will be available to answer voter
questions and document and address voting problems or irregularities.
Read More... (Center, students continue Election Protection presentations, prepare for Nov. 6 Hotline)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Fri. November 2, 2012 11:16 AM
Categories: Pro Bono, Voting Rights
CCR attorneys Mark Dorosin and
Elizabeth Haddix, and UNC School of Law Dean Jack Boger, together with
the Office of University Counsel filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on October 10, and a ruling is expected next spring.
On Constitution Day, September 17, Center attorneys Dorosin and Haddix, Center Deputy Director Charles Daye, and Dean Boger joined Steve Farmer, UNC Vice Provost for Admissions, on a panel at UNC Law School to discuss Fisher v. Texas and the continuing need for race-conscious and diversity-promoting higher education admission policies. Steve Farmer also wrote an op-ed that was published in The Hill on October 8, entitled Fisher v. Texas: It's wrong to curb diversity.
Watch the video of the panel:
Fisher v. University of Texas, Constitution Day 2012 Discussion from UNC School of Law on Vimeo.
Read More... (Fisher Amici speak on Constitution Day Panel at UNC Law School)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. October 17, 2012 2:45 PM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Education, Race and the Law Series
Education advocates gather in Halifax, NC to mark the one-year anniversary of the Center's report and the county's renewed struggle for education equity
This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the UNC
Center for Civil Rights’ report, “Unless Our Children Begin to Learn Together: The State of Education in Halifax County.” To commemorate this milestone, education advocates in the community held
a press conference at the Old Halifax County Courthouse, where the report was
first presented, to review what had been accomplished in the year and the
challenges that remain to bring high-quality, equitable education to Halifax
At the press conference, CEES Vice President Gary
Grant, speaking on behalf of the Coalition, called upon county and
elected officials, parents, teachers, and students to continue the
equity: “We bear witness to the fact
that the problems of poor and barely mediocre student performance at the
public school systems has not been addressed. Nor has the root cause,
the continuing extreme racial segregation among the three school
Halifax County. The quality of education
has been undermined on a county-wide basis for much too long at too
cost to too many of our children.”
Read More... (Halifax advocates mark anniversary of Center's report, continue struggle for education equity)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Mon. September 17, 2012 4:17 PM
Categories: Community Leaders, Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Race Discrimination, Segregation
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Pitt County Board of Education's petition for an en banc hearing in Everett v. Pitt County Schools. On June 5, 2012, the Court of Appeals denied the petition, stating that no judge called for the case to be reheard. Read the court's denial of en banc rehearing ().
On June 13, 2012, the Court issued a Mandate stating: "The judgment of this court, entered May 7, 2012, takes effect today."
Read the Mandate (). The Mandate is a clear affirmation that the Court of Appeals expects significant and immediate action from the district court.
The Court's May 2012 decision vacated the district court’s August
2011 decision and remanded the case for reconsideration with the correct burden of proof. The Mandate reaffirms the court's duty to correctly apply the burden of proof on the school board and hold PCS to its affirmative duty.
Read More... (Update: COA Denies En Banc Petition and issues Mandate - District court must implement Opinion favoring Plaintiffs)
Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. June 13, 2012 9:22 AM
Categories: Education, Pitt County, Race Discrimination