Poor Sacramento neighborhoods face uphill struggle to reverse school closures

Monday, July 15, 2013

I want to support the parents of children in some of Sacramento's poorer neighborhoods who have alleged racial bias in a lawsuit aimed at halting the closure of seven neighborhood schools in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

But the bid for an injunction to reverse the closures doesn't seem to stand a chance. It seems very likely to be tossed out of federal court this week. The plaintiffs struggled during a hearing Thursday to make the pieces fit. They have to prove that the school district purposely closed minority schools based on race.

I don't think they can meet the legal standard of proof and I honestly don't believe that the district was driven by racial bias in closing schools months ago.

The story is a lot more complicated than that. The schools that were closed were indeed cited as underperforming, but what they lacked most of all were surrounding neighborhoods with political muscle. They lacked neighborhoods and school programs that could attract students from other areas in an open-enrollment district where people vote for better schools with their feet.

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