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The second panel explored the impact of more than fifty years of desegregation cases.

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Her analysis suggested shifting the emphasis from the federal judiciary to the executive and legislative branches when requiring states to reduce racial isolation in schools.

In an effort to examine the effects of the decision, a second legal paper looked at southern school districts declared unitary after 2004.

The day revealed new findings regarding the value of racially diverse education, the efficacy of socioeconomic integration, how to build political will for voluntary integration, and new policy options for pursuing diverse schools. The conference, ruling both affirmed that school districts have a compelling interest in operating integrated schools and left open a number of possible avenues for promoting racially diverse educational settings.

Conference participants sought to develop new dialogue, research, and short and long-term policy options for school integration in the post- The first group of researchers presented work largely focused on the value of integrated schools.

First, the case, now before the Supreme Court regarding adequate state funding of ELL instruction in Arizona, could bear important ramifications for Latinos, the largest group of non-English speaking students.

Second, the new racial reporting guidelines required by the federal government that separate Hispanics and non-Hispanics in the initial classifying step could mask what may be an increasingly multiethnic Latino population.

Controlling for outside influences beyond the racial composition of schools – including family characteristics like income and education, school level differences like class size and peer effects, as well as conditions in neighborhoods – ensures that the gaps in cognitive development described above are not a result of these other factors but, in fact, due to school composition.

Next, Robert Bifulco, of Syracuse University, Courtney Bell, from the Educational Testing Service, and Casey Cobb, of the University of Connecticut, reported on Connecticut’s inter-district magnet programs, which are specialized schools that provide students an opportunity to cross boundary lines to attend schools in various parts of a metropolitan area (see #12 regarding the Sheff case at https://theintegrationreport.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/issue-12/).

Given this dilemma, final panelist Welner highlighted the importance of interweaving research findings regarding the importance of integration back into public discourse, arguing that judges might then be influenced by their social context.