Little Rock school district released from federally supervised desegregation plan Michael Sung at 10:55 AM ET
[JURIST] Judge William R. Wilson Jr. of the US District Court of Eastern Arkansas [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Friday that the Little Rock School District [official website] was "substantially complying" with its Revised Desegregation and Education Plan ("Revised Plan") and released the school district from court supervision [LRSD press release and timeline]. The Little Rock School District voluntarily entered into the Revised Plan in 1998 "as a way of settling...over forty years of more or less continuous desegregation litigation." The Revised Plan required the school district to "substantially comply with hundreds of desegregation obligations in order to achieve unitary status."
In September 13, 2003, Wilson issued a memorandum opinion finding that Little Rock had substantially complied with all of its obligations in the Revised Plan with the exception of one that requires the school district to annually assess and improve the effectiveness of academic programs in improving African-American achievement. The school district unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in March 12, 2004. The Little Rock School District was the location of infamous 1957 confrontation between Arkansas governor Orval Faubus [Wikipedia profile] and the federal government following the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka [opinion, HTML], which outlawed racial segregation in public education. AP has more.
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