Resource: The Importance of Full Court Involvement: A Case Study of the Rockford, Il School Desegregation Efforts

By: Shannon Fisk

May 15, 1999

This paper attempts to respond to the critics of school desegregation legislation, especially those who question the legitimacy and efficacy of court action, through examining school desegregation efforts in the city of Rockford, Illinois with a focus on the litigation which began in 1989 under the name People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education, School District #205 -- 89-20168, No.89 C 20168, 1989 WL 197569 (N.D.Ill. Dec. 15, 1989) --. Attempts to desegregate the Rockford School District started in the mid-1960s. A lawsuit, pressure by the state of Illinois, and community activism in the 1970s led to some desegregation. However, that progress was largely illusory as most of the burden of desegregation was placed on the backs of minority children and patterns of segregation reemerged in individual schools. With the 1970s lawsuit dismissed and the state pressure ended, the 1980s were marked by a period of resegregation of the District. It was not until the 1990s, when the federal courts stepped in, found the District liable for intentional discrimination and issued a Comprehensive Remedial Order that any significant progress was made in desegregating the District and improving the educational opportunities for the minority (and majority) students who attend public school in Rockford.

Resource Type(s):

Case Studies

Institution: Harvard

Related Cases:

People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education