Valuing Integration: Lessons from Teachers

73 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2007

See all articles by Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: September 2007


The Supreme Court ended its last term by making unconstitutional a choice Brown v. Board of Education once required - the voluntary, and race conscious, pursuit of integration - to little public outcry. As a society, we continue to find comfort in segregation. This Article argues that this acceptance is wrong, both educationally and constitutionally. It does so through the lens of teacher segregation, a topic all but ignored in the current literature. The first step of this argument is demonstrating, by an original empirical study, the segregation of teachers, thereby proving a more profound school segregation than is generally recognized. The second step establishes, through an extensive review of the existing social science literature, that the typical minority student benefits from integration because it ensures a fundamental resource - experienced teachers. Lastly, the inherent inequality of segregation should have constitutional implications. While the Rehnquist Court utilized an interest balancing approach to the Equal Protection clause and recognized the constitutional harms of segregation, the Roberts Court has begun to minimize the Equal Protection to concern only capitalizing individual treatment and has erred in creating a "constitutional chill" toward the value of integration.

Keywords: civil rights, school integration, school desegregation

JEL Classification: J10, J40

Suggested Citation

Parker, Wendy, Valuing Integration: Lessons from Teachers (September 2007). Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 1014366, Available at SSRN: or

Wendy Parker (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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