San Diego Law Review

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Since the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision declared segregated schools to be "inherently unequal," steadily mounting numbers of American children have been attending increasingly segregated schools. As a result, there has been a marked if gradual shift in the focus of legal actions. Where primary concern had, for a time, centered rather impersonally upon the spectacle of Southern resistance and obstruction, by degrees the phenomenon of segregated education has come to be recognized by many as a national dilemma rather than a localized idiosyncrasy. In Brown, invidious de jure segregation was held to violate the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. Increasingly, the establishment or maintenance of "inherently unequal" schools has been challenged in the courts as no less unconstitutional where these schools flourish within the framework of so-called de facto, rather than de jure segregation. The purpose of this note will be to: (1) Provide background material in the causes and consequences of substantial racial imbalance in schools, together with an outline of some basic remedial measures which may be available to alleviate this imbalance; (2) review and evaluate the major theories underlying litigation involving de facto segregation; (3) discuss California law as it relates to the compulsory elimination of de facto segregation; and (4) analyze the possibilities for obtaining legal remedies to correct the racial imbalance prevalent within the San Diego Unified School District.

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