Court Eschews Race, Steps On Diversity in Education -- Again (Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week striking down two school systems' diversity plans once again proved that the nation would rather nitpick educational diversity than effectively tackle tough questions about race. Instead of stepping up, the Supreme Court again stepped away from an opportunity to address the continuing impact of race on the fabric of America.

The Supreme Court could have helped clarify when, where and how public school systems can use race in determining which students get limited spots in competitive programs. Instead, they have created more confusion, frustration and anger.

Concurring with the 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy repeated the usual rhetoric by saying, "this nation has a moral and ethical obligation to fulfill its historic commitment to creating an integrated society that ensures equal opportunity for all its children."

I agree with Justice Kennedy's dream, but I wish he'd wake up and join me in making it a reality. The decision he agreed with does nothing to get us there. We have got to untie the hands of the court, the Congress, the states and parents when it comes to ensuring equal educational opportunity for all children. Enough is enough!

We must make our 'moral and ethical obligation' to education a legal one. Equal high quality education must be guaranteed to every student, no matter what they look like or where they live. Not having that guarantee is what frustrated the parents into court in the first place.

Amend the Constitution. Give every student the right to an education of equal high quality. If we don't want to answer the race question now, then answer the education question. Stop holding our children -- our future -- hostage.