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This article examines Parents Involved for the light it sheds on integration's continuing relevance to educational and social equity. Part I examines the story of school integration in Jefferson County and shows how this largely successful metropolitan integration plan challenges claims of racial integration's futility. Part II puts forward the empirical evidence that plaintiffs in Parents Involved used in seeking to establish that school boards have a compelling interest in promoting racial integration and avoiding the harm of racially isolated schools. This part argues that the empirical case for racial integration, while not without limitations, moves beyond stigmatization, psychological harm, and the social meaning of segregation, and links integration to equity on the dimensions of school quality and social mobility. This part concludes by examining how empirical arguments might inform integration's future, which I contend is possible primarily through close linkages between housing and school policy. The article concludes by acknowledging that many questions remain unanswered about integration's future role in social policy, but that compelling arguments exist for not wholly abandoning the integration project.


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Education Law | Law | Law and Race | Law and Society