Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fwd: PRESS RELEASE: District appeals court ruling that allowed parents to challenge forced mainstreaming.

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Begin forwarded message:

From: Carl Petersen <>
Date: June 13, 2016 at 7:32:01 AM PDT
To: Carl Petersen <>
Subject: PRESS RELEASE: District appeals court ruling that allowed parents to challenge forced mainstreaming.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Contact: Carl Petersen

(818) 869-0309

District appeals court ruling that allowed parents of moderately to severely disabled children to challenge forced mainstreaming.

"The district court further erred when it found intervention unnecessary to protect appellant's' interest in ensuring the receipt of public education consistent with their disabilities and federal law."

- Judge Carlos T. Bea

The LAUSD claims that "special education centers are unnecessary because the District can 'provide all supports and a general education site", but there are parents of severely disabled students who disagree with this assessment, especially when "their children began coming home after school with bruises and other injuries" after their children were transferred away from special education centers. The mainstream environment also failed a student who is on the autism spectrum and was "found 'walking alone a mile from the school' due to understaffing in [his] classroom and the lack of special safety features at [his] new general education campus". The Independent Monitor who oversees the District's compliance with the 20 year old special education consent decree found that general education campuses had "areas designated for '[diaper changing, feeding and health care protocols' [that] 'were located inside classrooms that lacked running water and drainage'; [that] special education classrooms were placed 'over 350 feet' from bathrooms scheduled to be renovated to accommodate disabled children [and] the placement of bus drop-offs and lunch areas required blind children 'to navigate slopes, uneven steps, tripping hazards and protruding objects' to get to class". Still, the District continues to fight parents in court so that they can forcibly transfer moderately to severely disabled students away from specially designed school environments and instead mainstream them in general education facilities.

Having "parent and community engagement" is a stated goal of the LAUSD, but court papers show how far the District and its outside lawyers will go to silence those advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable students. This includes allegations that "the LAUSD has threatened to terminate the positions of special education teachers and providers if they express an opinion about placement at their student's IEP [Individualized Education Program] meeting contrary to general education placement".  The District seems to argue that  it is a more knowledgeable authority than the concerned parents when it ignores their concerns to state that they are giving "students who would otherwise be segregated at a special education center the opportunity to be a part of a comprehensive educational environment." (emphasis mine) While the District claims that "planning for the integration of students was thoughtful and comprehensive", "parents of affected students were not invited to participate in the LAUSD/Class Counsel/Independent Monitor negotiations" that put the changes in motion. The lawyers even argue that the parents should be excluded from filing because they "did not seek to intervene in the proceedings" when the "underlying class action lawsuit was filed in 1993" and "the Consent Decree was entered in 1996", long before their children were even born.

The District bases its argument against the parents on the false premise that "Congress requires mainstreaming". While federal and state laws do "require that special education students receive services in the 'least restrictive environment'", it also specifies that this is based on the appropriate needs of the children. Therefore, the law allows the District to educate these children on separate campuses dedicated to their special education if their parents agree that it is necessary for their well being. Furthermore, there is nothing in the law that says that interactions with their non-disabled peers has to take place on the general education campus. General education classes could be taught on the special education campus, perhaps for students interested in a career in special education, allowing the special education students to remain in their safe place and facilitating a more productive interaction for both sets of students.

Last month, the 9th Circuit overruled a lower court and stated that parents did have the right to intervene on behalf of their children. This will allow them to continue the fight to keep special education centers as a choice available to them during the IEP process. If the LAUSD was serious about improving parental engagement, they would have used this loss as a reason to sit down with the parents with the aim of finding a collaborative solution that could end the litigation. Instead, their outside law firm has filed an appeal. In a District that constantly claims that they do not have the money to provide needed services to students, one has to assume that there were better uses for the money that will end up in the pockets of these lawyers.


I am a candidate for the District 2 seat on the LAUSD School Board, founder of Change The LAUSD and member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council. Opinions are my own.



Carl J. Petersen for LAUSD School Board 2017 (ID# 1384794)

All Kids Are Our Kids!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

How Charter School Powerbrokers Plan to Crater Public Education as We Know It | Alternet

How Charter School Powerbrokers Plan to Crater Public Education as We Know It | Alternet

How Charter School Powerbrokers Plan to Crater Public Education as We Know It

The Billion Dollar Investment

Charter proponents, most notably the Walton Family Foundation, contribute large amounts of money to expand charter schools in select cities around the nation. The foundation says it has invested more than $385 million in new charter schools over the past two decades and, earlier this year, announced that it plans to give $1 billion over five years to support charters and school-choice initiatives.

In announcing its $1 billion strategic plan to support new and existing charter schools, the foundation has said the money would go to four initiatives – investing in cities, supporting the school-choice movement, innovation and research. It identified 13 cities nationwide where it said it can have the biggest impact, including Los Angeles and Oakland. Los Angeles already has more charter schools than any other school district in the United States and Oakland has the highest percentage of charters for any district in California.

"If funders like Eli Broad or the Walton Family Foundation were truly committed to education equality," says John Rogers, an education professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, "they could have taken steps to simply support reducing class size or after-school [activities] or summer programs that would provide more educational opportunity, rather than try to invest in strategies to undermine the capacities of a school district. The primary aim is to dismantle the school district as a whole and replace it with a new way of doing public education."

Gary Miron, a professor of education at Western Michigan University, agrees. "They believe in privatization," he says. Miron co-authored a critical study, sponsored last year by the National Education Policy Center, that focused on the charter industry's funding policies.

But why do so many charter advocates embrace privatization?

"I don't think it's about the money," says Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "They like charters in part because they decrease the publicness of public schools. They want a system much more based on market forces because they don't trust democracy."

Netflix founder and prominent charter advocate Reed Hastings seemed to confirm this view when, during a 2014 convention of the California Charter Schools Association, he decried publicly elected school boards for their alleged lack of stability in governance. He then praised the closed-governance charter model of private boards whose "board members pick new board members."

But should the private sector be in charge of public education?

"No," says Welner. "The public sector should be in charge of public education. Public education should be under democratic control."

Welner is not alone in his view.

"The radical agenda of the Walton family," says a damning report issued last year by the American Federation of Teachers and In the Public Interest, "has taken the U.S. charter school movement away from education quality in favor of a strategy focused only on growth. It's been lucrative for some, but a disaster for many of the nation's most vulnerable students and school districts."

Capturing school boards has become a major goal of the charter-school movement.

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The direct funding of charter schools is only one of several strategies charter advocates are using to influence public opinion and school policies. They also fund academic studies and "grassroots" organizations such as Parent Revolution, along with powerful political lobbies such as the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). Just as important, they contribute millions of dollars to school board elections in order to replace those perceived to be anti-charter with pro-charter board members, as seen in recent elections in Los Angeles and Oakland, two cities where charter-expansion partisans have been particularly aggressive.

Reshaping School Boards

"Idon't see myself as just pro-charter," Ref Rodriguez tells Capital & Main. "It's a little more nuanced. My focus is on quality." In 2015 Rodriguez ran as a pro-charter candidate for a seat on Los Angeles' Board of Education. Rodriguez admits he received a lot of money from charter advocates, but says that he is not beholden to them. In any case, he handily defeated his incumbent opponent, Bennett Kayser, in a bitterly-fought election that gave charter school proponents a key ally on the seven-member board. Even so, Rodriguez says he does not support Broad's plan, citing what he believes is its flawed data relating to the plan's claims about long charter-school waiting lists.

The election of pro-charter members to school boards has become a major goal of the charter-school movement. The boards make critical decisions involving charters – from hiring school superintendents to creating policy about whether, and how many, charter schools should be authorized and renewed within a district.

In last year's Los Angeles Unified School District board race a CCSA political action committee spent more than $2 million, including roughly half a million dollars in negative ads, to defeat Kayser, a onetime teacher and school administrator who was generally opposed to opening new charter schools. By contrast, Rodriguez was the cofounder of a charter school network, Partnerships to Uplift Communities, and a former CCSA board member.

In addition to money spent by the CCSA PAC, Rodriguez received contributions from Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, from Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of Steve Jobs and a wealthy charter advocate), from a PAC affiliated with the StudentsFirst education advocacy group, which was founded by Michelle Rhee, and from numerous employees and officials at various charter schools.

The United Teachers Los Angeles union spent about $800,000 in support of Kayser.

Jason Mandell, CCSA's director of Advocacy Communications, says that the charter lobby's political action arm gives money in an effort to ensure that charter schools get a fair hearing on school boards.

"We hope for school board members who understand charter schools and are supportive of their growth, or at least the high performing ones," he says. "There are folks who are opposed to charter schools, period, regardless of their impact on students. We think the communities are better served by having school board members not so ideologically extreme and who are happy to support charters when they are performing well and helping kids. School boards make real decisions on charter schools."

Molding Public Opinion

In an effort to shape public opinion and sway policy makers, the Walton Family Foundation awards research grants to professors studying charter schools and other educational initiatives. The grants, totaling millions of dollars, have funded academic studies at Harvard University, MIT, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame. These studies are then quoted in the mainstream press or in the media that pro-charter philanthropists directly control – creating an echo chamber that is used by the charter movement to expand the numbers of charter schools across the United States.

These institutions officially say that they maintain control of research findings and that the studies don't always reflect the views of the funders. A study by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), funded by the Walton foundation, concluded last year, for example, that students who take courses at online charter schools make significantly less academic progress than students at traditional public schools.

Nonetheless, the funding of academic studies raises concerns. "It's part of the war of ideas," says UCLA's Rogers.

That war of ideas certainly includes funding education coverage in the media.

The Los Angeles Times' "Education Matters" initiative to expand education coverage, for instance, is receiving $800,000 from a group of foundations, including the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. And the respected Education Week, among others, has received funding ($250,000 in 2014) to cover "school choice" issues from the Walton Family Foundation.

Last January a New York-based charter school advocacy website called The Seventy Four, which has received funding from the Walton Family Foundations took over LA School Report, a respected online publication devoted to covering Los Angeles public schools. The Seventy Four – named for America's 74 million school-age children – is owned by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, a high-profile charter-school advocate and a key player in a lawsuit to end teacher tenure protections in New York.

The Seventy Four's takeover of LA School report is part of a pattern in which prominent charter school proponents, such as philanthropist Eli Broad and the Walton Family Foundation, seek to influence the public and school policy makers by acquiring or investing in education coverage. The move, which involved replacing LA School Report's editor, came months after a group led by Broad proposed that half of the Los Angeles Unified School District's students be enrolled in charter schools within the next eight years. (Broad did not respond to requests for comments for this article.)

"The direct investment in media companies is [meant] to sway public opinion," says John Rogers. "[Charter proponents] are trying to win the public relations campaign so they can move forward their political agenda with as little resistance as possible."

Overall, the Walton Family Foundation spent more than $80 million to "shape public policy," according to its 2014 grant report, the latest publicly available figures. In addition to its foundation's grants to Education Week, the Walton family also funds two media outlets that are generally perceived as somewhat progressive. The foundation gave a $342,000 grant to National Public Radio in 2014 and another $550,000 to The Atlantic, whose money went to fund two live events in partnership with the Aspen Institute think tank, according to the publication Inside Philanthropy, which reports on how foundations and major donors give away money and why.

The proponents of charter schools claim the schools are filling a vital need in education. In an interview, Marshall Tuck, a former president of Green Dot charter schools, said he believes that charters give low-income families an opportunity they've never had.

"Higher poverty families never had a choice before charters," says Tuck, whose unsuccessful 2014 campaign to become California Superintendent of Schools was backed by Eli Broad, members of the Walton family and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Higher poverty families never had options. Their only option, at times, was to send their children to underperforming district schools. Having more public school choices for high-poverty families is a good change."

Yet for all the money that charter school proponents spent on the 2015 Los Angeles school board elections, the Broad Plan continues to be vigorously opposed by the education community. Last January all seven board members, including its two pro-charter members, voted to go on the record as opposing the plan. One of those no votes came from Ref Rodriguez, the beneficiary of $2 million of CCSA largess. Rodriguez says it is impractical and unrealistic to believe that the charter school community could expand so much in Los Angeles and still maintain high standards.

"I'm not a proponent of the plan," he says. "It's just not possible."


The Walton Family: America’s New Robber Barons

The Walton Family: America's New Robber Barons

The Walton Family: America's New Robber Barons

Walmart's ruling family, the Waltons, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.

The Walton family is the richest family in the United States, with more wealth than Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined. The Waltons' wealth comes from their inherited, controlling stake in Walmart. While Walmart workers live in poverty, the Waltons rake in billions every year from the company.

And the Waltons just keep getting richer.

Since 2007, while millions of Americans were having their homes confiscated and jobs eliminated, the fortune of the six Waltons on the Forbes 400 list has more than doubled to an astounding $148.8 billion.

The Waltons have these riches thanks to the hard work of their own employees and all of us taxpayers. Based on recent estimates, taxpayers subsidize Walmart as much as $3 billion per year.[1] Instead of paying workers enough to survive, the Waltons take billions from Walmart every year, while driving their workers on to food stamps and other public assistance.

Unlike their employees, the Waltons reap billions from Walmart every year.

Three Waltons—Rob, Jim, and Alice (all children of Walmart founder Sam Walton)—own over 50% of outstanding Walmart shares. This fiscal year, Rob, Jim, and Alice (and the various entities that they control) will receive an estimated $3.16 billion in Walmart dividends on those shares.

If Sam Walton's dependents actually worked for their Walmart dividend checks this year, they would be handed $1.5 million every hour. Meanwhile, Walmart workers get an average of $8.81 per hour and are routinely denied full-time work.[2]

Amid concerns about the fiscal cliff in December 2012, Walmart moved up the final dividend payout of its fiscal year from January 2013 to December 2012 to avoid a possible increase in the tax rate on dividends. As the company's largest and wealthiest shareholders, the Waltons were the biggest beneficiaries of the move.

Most Walmart workers can only dream of making $25,000 in a year. Meanwhile, the Waltons get $25,000 per minute from their Walmart dividends alone.

The Waltons can certainly afford to do better by their workers and the American taxpayers who subsidize their profit-at-any-cost model, but they continue to choose not to.

The Waltons, using their their investment income alone, could fund a permanent $10,000 wage increase for the 1 million hourly store associates whose work generates Walmart's profits.[3]

Updated 3/5/14

[1] A May 2013 report by the Democratic staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce estimated a taxpayer cost of $3,015 per Walmart employee because of Walmart workers' reliance on taxpayer funded programs. To arrive at the $3 billion figure, we simply multiplied the $3,015 estimate by roughly 1 million retail employees.

[2] Sam Walton's dependents include his children Alice, Rob, and Jim, as well as Christy, who is the widow of his late son John. This calculation is based on share ownership data from Walmart's 2014 filings and Walmart's declared FY 2015 dividend of $1.92 per share (see here).

[3] According to a Forbes analysis of their large holdings in public companies, the combined fortune of the six heirs to Walmart founders Sam and Bud Walton stands at $148.8 billion (the six heirs are Alice, Jim, Rob and Christy Walton, Nancy Walton Laurie, and Anne Walton Kroenke). Assuming a 7% rate of return on their fortune, the Waltons would receive more than $10 billion annually. From 2003-2012, the rate of return on the S&P 500 has been just above 7%; the long-run rate of return is closer to 10%.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

N.C. school board member Chuck Hughes says LGBT people weren't target of pepper spray policy.

N.C. school board member Chuck Hughes says LGBT people weren't target of pepper spray policy.

The N.C. School Board Member Behind the Pepper Spray Policy Says LGBT People Weren't His Concern

Not aimed at LGBT people!

George Doyle / Thinkstock

When news broke earlier this week that North Carolina's Rowan–Salisbury Board of Education had voted to allow students to carry pepper spray on campus—seemingly under the logic, as one board member intimated, that they might need it to protect themselves from trans people in bathrooms—it looked like the vigilante gender police state was arriving faster than I had feared. (Well, an invigorated one anyway—plenty of trans and gender–nonconforming people have lived under a version of it forever.) Appropriately, progressive-leaning media and activists threw a spotlight on the story, covering it as yet another sad step of the formerly enlightened Southern state down the slope of bigoted ignominy.

J. Bryan Lowder J. Bryan Lowder

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate associate editor. He covers life, culture, and LGBTQ issues.

Fortunately, the outcry seems to have worked: As Buzzfeed News reported late Wednesday, the board is now "rethinking" the policy change and will take it up again at the body's next session on May 23. Pepper spray is expected to move back to the list of prohibited items.

While the about-face itself is good news, it's particularly important to note that Chuck Hughes, the board member who had offered the offending justification, is leading the reversal. Hughes' original quote—"Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in."—understandably sounded transphobic in light of the furor surrounding HB2. But Hughes later elaborated on his views to Buzzfeed, saying, "I was not thinking about the LGBT issue. Perverts and pedophiles taking advantage of this law in bathrooms was my major concern."

"The LGBT issue has never been a problem to my knowledge," Hughes said. "People have a different sexual identity, they go about their business. You don't even know that a transgender is in your bathroom. They're not there to create havoc. But perverts are."
Hughes said he was not homophobic and that the LGBT community had rights to be protected. "They're not the ones to look out for," he said. "My statement was misinterpreted and when I hear other people talking about it, I can see how it was misinterpreted."

While it's impossible to know whether this clarification is genuine or a bit of crisis management, I'm willing to take Hughes at his word—not least because he has promised his own vote to revoke the pepper spray allowance. What concerns me more is that, even for this a guy who seems to basically get that LGBTQ folks are not de facto "perverts," the fearmongering around bathrooms perpetrated by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and similar potty warriors has been effective. So much so that, in this case, a school board official temporarily thought it was a good idea to approve an easily abused weapon for the use of teenagers.

My heart sinks to think of how many folks like Hughes—well-meaning, generally difference-tolerant, even potential allies—have been riled up against transgender and other queer people in a similar fashion. Because when HB2 is repealed or struck down and the words erased, that emotion will linger—and unlike ink, the stain of fear isn't so easily removed. 

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Usage of 'modern' slang in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

Usage of 'modern' slang in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

Shakespearean Slang

This is a photograph of the last scene of Titus Andronicus, a Transversal Theater Company production done in Utrecht in 2012.
The last scene of Titus Andronicus, performed in Utrecht, Netherlands, in 2012.


This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. 


While we flip the bird at explicit language advisories on this blog, I do want to issue a trigger warning for this post due to fictional content about rape. That's a hell of way to kick off a little language study, huh? But even by today's standards, Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, with its human sacrifice, gang rape, and cannibalism, is just brutally fucking violent. Amid all its carnage, though, is some sexual wordplay that sounds, well, shockingly modern for a play written more than 400 years ago.

In just one of its many fucked-up episodes, this fuck, Aaron, helps these two other fucks, brothers Chiron and Demetrius, scheme to rape Lavinia, Titus' daughter. As the three hatch their unconscionable plot, they amuse each other—you're a real motherfucker, Shakespeare—with a little wordplay about stealing Lavinia away from her husband for their evil act:

Demetrius: What, hast not thou full often struck a doe
And borne her cleanly by the keeper's nose?
Aaron: Why then, it seems some certain snatch or so
Would serve your turns.
Chiron: Ay, so the turn were served.
Demetrius: Aaron, thou has hit it.
Aaron: Would you had hit it too… (2.1.93-97)

In terms of strong language, "snatch" jumps right out. Today, snatch is coarse slang for "vagina," but this particular usage doesn't emerge until much later; the Oxford English Dictionary attests it by the early 1900s. But "snatch" is still sexually suggestive here. For a snatch was once also a "snack," a quick bite of food. In the late 16th century, we see this snatch applied to the Elizabethan equivalent of a quickie, often with prostitutes. Snatch was then likely transferred to the female anatomy it so derogates today.

Unlike snatch, "turn" doesn't seem so swearily salient. It may sound innocent enough to the modern ear, but turn also refers to sex. Turn's a particularly nefarious and disturbing word in this passage, for it also underscores the fact that the brothers are committing gang rape (ugh, taking turns) and calls back previous lines where Demetrius essentially claims sexual entitlement to women (getting his turn).

Then we have this "hit it." It sounds like a bit of current sexual slang jarringly out of place in Shakespearean verse, doesn't it? Or are we just randy readers, supplying sexual subtext where none is warranted? Well, when Demetrius tells Aaron he has "hit it," he's saying Aaron's point really hit the nail on the head (an idiom which actually dates back to the 15th century, as it happens). But Aaron's rejoining "hit it" is basically what you think it means: not so different from when a 21st-century bro casually shares his objectifying desire for a woman with "I'd hit it."

Aaron is not so eager to help Chiron and Demetrius later in the play, though. A little context aids this passage: Aaron, the Moor, has a bastard child with the brothers' mother, Tamora, Queen of the Goths and newly wedded Roman empress. A nurse tells him that the "Empress … bids thee christen it with thy dagger's point" (4.2.69-70), but Aaron, horrible as he is, draws the line at the infanticide of his own child, thankfully:

Aaron: Zounds, ye whore, is black so base a hue?
Sweet blowze, you are beauteous blossom, sure.
Demetrius: Villain, what has thou done?
Aaron: That which thou canst undo.
Chiron: Thou has undone our mother.
Aaron: Villain, I have done thy mother.
Demetrius: And therein, hellish dog, thou has undone her. (4.2.71-77)

Aaron issues a few choice words aside from the more obvious "whore" and "villain." Zounds was a minced oath for "God's wounds." And blowze really packs in the insults: In the 1731 edition of his Universal Etymological English Dictionary, Nathaniel Bailey defined blowze, as quoted in the OED, "A fat, red-faced, bloted wench, or one whose head is dressed like a slattern." The sexist insult survives in blowzy.

Aaron even employs some pronominal profanity, if you will. Socially inferior to the queen's sons, Aaron uses the more familiar "thy" when addressing Chiron as opposed to the more polite and then-class-appropriate "you" he employs in the previous passage. For Shakespeare, nothing says "fuck you" like "fuck thee."

But for all his old time-y insults, Aaron also fires off a dis that sounds like Shakespeare talking smack in the contemporary schoolyard: "Villain, I have done thy mother." Like his "hit it," Aaron's do means exactly what our modern naughty minds want this surprisingly old expression to mean. As a euphemism for "having sex," the OED attests do in the late 15th century. William Caxton gets the first citation, in fact. (The sexy expletive, it, is found even earlier, dated to the 1440s.)

What can we take away from all this? For one thing, slang and swearing don't typically age well. Shakespeare's villain's are today's Disney baddies. And to be fair, Shakespeare would have been all WTF over today's WTF. Language, especially slang, is constantly evolving to meet the various and changing needs of its users. But sometimes strong language is surprisingly durable, as we see in Shakespeare's modern-sounding "hit it" and "do."

For another thing, even expressions like "hit it" and "do," while simple in their construction from nuts-and-bolts words, can reveal a sort of primally violent and deeply gendered foundation, at least when we consider them in the context of something as gruesome as Titus Andronicus. If anything, though, the few bits of strong language there are in Titus Andronicus provide a welcome linguistic distraction to this grisly shitshow of a play.

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Justice Department orders schools in Mississippi town to desegregate decades after Brown.

Justice Department orders schools in Mississippi town to desegregate decades after Brown.

These Mississippi Schools Finally Must Desegregate—62 Years After Brown v. Board of Education

The schools of Cleveland haven't resegregated; they were never integrated to begin with.


In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education, that "separate but equal" schools violated the Constitution. Sixty-two years later, after a federal court rejected alternate schemes proposed by the school district last week, the U.S. Department of Justice has ordered the tiny Delta town of Cleveland, Mississippi, to desegregate its schools, which have been frozen in a pre-Brown universe—not simply resegregated, like many schools in the country, but never integrated in the first place.

The Justice Department's decision has been a long time coming: It's the latest salvo in a lawsuit that was originally filed by black parents in Cleveland in 1965—a full half-century ago, and just over a decade after Brown.

In a statement released Monday by the Justice Department, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said, "Six decades after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declared that 'separate but equal has no place' in public schools, this decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional."

As of last year, 359 of the 360 students at Cleveland's East Side High, according to the Hechinger Report, were black; the racial makeup of the historically black D.M. Smith Middle School was similarly lopsided. While the traditionally white middle and high schools are more racially mixed in a town with a student population that's 66 percent black and 30 percent white, the black schools have never had more than a handful of nonblack students enrolled.* Under the Justice Department's plan, the city must combine the middle and high schools for the first time in more than 100 years.

In an era when schools are becoming resegregated not just in the Deep South but all over the country, the "inadequate dual system" in never-integrated Cleveland—where there is an actual railroad track dividing white and black neighborhoods—offers an extreme case. To avoid consolidating the schools, the town of 12,000 has tried magnet programs and International Baccalaureate offerings to attract white students to the black schools, so far without success. After decades of punting, the town finally has to take real action. They've certainly waited long enough.

*Correction, May 17, 2016: This post originally misstated that Cleveland's East Side High School and D.M. Smith Middle School have never had more than a handful of nonwhite students enrolled. They have never had more than a handful of nonblack students.

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