Presentation to the Board of Education,
San Diego City Schools — November 1999

by Elmer Enstrom, Jr.
Interested Person under Section 7a, Article I, California Constitution

In 1967, the Carlin action was filed by a group of students and their parents, certified in 1973 as a class that believed that San Diego schools should be racially balanced, "if necessary, by court order."

In 1980 I represented, pro bono, an intervening group of parents and their children, called Groundswell, for the following 17 years until the case was ended July 1, 1998.

We opposed coercive race-balancing assignment of students, believing the law would ultimately support this opposition. We first presented the petitions of 1856 students (see exemplar, Attachment 1) successfully objecting to being forcibly bused from their neighborhood schools when such busing was judicially disallowed in school districts such as the San Diego district.

In 1982 I presented objections to the Magnet Program to the exclusion of students from magnet schools because of their race and residence (example, Attachment 2). In 1995, I presented objections to the Voluntary Ethnic Enrollment Program (VEEP) to the exclusion of students from their nearest schools in favor of VEEP students bused there for racial balance (example, Attachment 3).

In my letter to District Counsel on October 30, I reiterated these objections to the present Proposal, which I believe have not been met. As to Magnet Eligibility, in Paragraph 3 of my letter I illustrate how the cluster formula is designed to advance race-balancing by the racial gerrymandering of the clusters. Thus, the objecting child in Attachment 2, living in Cluster 2 would have a lower priority for admission to a magnet school in Cluster 4 than one living in Cluster 1.

As to VEEP Eligibility, I illustrate how the racial gerrymandering of boundaries of the "sending" and "receiving" schools is designed to advance race-balancing of those schools. Thus, the child in Attachment 3 outside the boundary drawn for her nearest school would have a lower priority for admission there than VEEP students within the boundary of a sending school many miles away.

Sections 7a and 31 (Proposition 209), Article I, of the California Constitution do not permit continuance of a policy which may be described like the one as to Boston Latin School, proscribed by the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which said:

The Policy is, at bottom, a mechanism for racial balancing — and placing our imprimatur on racial balancing risks setting a precedent that is both dangerous to our democratic ideals and almost always constitutionally forbidden.

Since then Boston schools reportedly have removed race as a consideration in the school assignment of students. (Attachment 4.) I respectfully submit that recent federal decisions require, in promoting diversity, that this Board adopt a race-neutral plan.


Elmer Enstrom, Jr.
November 30, 1999
See Attachment 2 — 6th-Grader Kimberly's Protest.
(The only attachment available online here.)

The quote in the first paragraph should read (no comma)

"if necessary through court order."
not "if necessary, by court order."

A slightly different summary of the constitutional argument against racial gerrymandering appeared in the San Diego Daily Transcript for January 10, 2000 (page 9A) as a Viewpoint article by Elmer Enstrom, Jr., titled "Stop Racial Balancing".

You may follow the proceedings in Carlin v. Board of Education by beginning with the Summary or Foreword and clicking the arrows; read a capsule background on the Author; or look at the Contents for an overview.

Carlin Carlin v. Board of Education, San Diego Unified School District,
San Diego Superior Court No. 303800 (1967-1998)
San Diego, California
Enstrom: pro bono counsel, 1979-1998

Enstrom Foundation
History & analysis of the 30-year Carlin affirmative action lawsuit.
Busing —Not Integration— Opposed: Contents
Liberate Public Schools from Government by Lawsuit: Contents
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