Opinion: Will the court strike down affirmative action?
The Supreme Court will have only eight justices to hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas.
February 22nd, 2012
06:07 PM ET

Opinion: Will the court strike down affirmative action?

By Abigail Thernstrom, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Abigail Thernstrom is the vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She is the author, most recently, of "Voting Rights and Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections."

(CNN) - The Supreme Court has just agreed to take on the case of Fisher v. University of Texas. Abigail Fisher, a white woman, argues that she has been a victim of the university's race-conscious admission policies; the university contends that its drive for racial and ethnic diversity is educationally enriching - a benefit to all students.

Will the ugly discourse that generally characterizes debate over racially preferential policies disappear with the wave of a magic Supreme Court wand? It seems unlikely. The issue is a cat with many more than nine lives. It arrived in the early 1970s and, despite many attacks, some of which have taken the form of amendments to state constitutions, it has survived in pretty fine fettle.

The court will have only eight justices to hear the arguments. Elena Kagan, having been involved in the case as solicitor general in the Obama administration, has bowed out of participation. Her absence, however, leaves five justices likely to express at least some degree of skepticism about the racial preferences given to non-Asian minorities in the admissions process.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Abigail Thernstrom.

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Filed under: After High School • Legal issues • Policy • Supreme Court • Voices
February 22nd, 2012
05:21 PM ET

I am America: Hollywood High now a diverse high school

By Chuck Conder, CNN

Los Angeles, California (CNN) –For the better part of a century, Hollywood High School has been known as the high school of the stars: Judy Garland, Carol Burnett, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Garner are among the famous alumni.

But Judy Garland might not recognize her old alma mater today.

When she attended Hollywood High in the 1930’s the student body was almost all white.

Today, it is predominantly Latino, and made up of teens whose families came to America from every corner of the world. “Hollywood has always struck me as a place where it doesn’t matter where you are from,” said Principal Jaime Morales, who immigrated from Nicaragua. “You are welcome here.”

School valedictorian Karla Samayoa’s parents fled political turmoil in El Salvador. Though she was born in America, she still feels a strong connection to her Salvadoran roots.

Read the full story from the In America blog
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Filed under: In America • Issues • Practice
February 22nd, 2012
12:10 PM ET

Today's Reading List

Here's what the editors of Schools of Thought are reading today:

NPR: What's Behind The Rise Of College Tuition?
As tuition around the country rises, many prospective college students are questioning whether what used to be an affordable investment is now worth the financial burden.

Schooled in Sports: Arne Duncan, Education Media Develop Case of Linsanity, Too
While Jeremy Lin is helping the New York Knicks win games on the basketball court, some people are hoping that the Harvard-educated basketball phenom can be a role model for kids in the classroom.

Denverpost.com: Denver turnaround schools show "unreal" improvement in students' math scores
The Denver Summit Schools Network consists of 11 new and turnaround schools. Students in the turnaround schools receive two hours of math instruction and tutorials per day and recent test scores show marked improvement in the subject.

News 13: New dress code in the works for Volusia teachers
A Florida school district and the local teacher's union are in agreement over one issue – the district needs a dress code for faculty members.

TBO.com: New program has kids help kids with social pressures
Students in the "I Care About Me" program attend group sessions that work towards raising their self-esteem.

February 22nd, 2012
06:15 AM ET

I am America: Job change spurs passion

Ed Chang left his lucrative career as a physical therapist to invest in kids education instead.

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Filed under: In America • Issues • Teachers • video