Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 15, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971966 | Print ISBN: 9781412940504 | Online ISBN: 9781412971966| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kristie J. R. Phillips
Unitary status is a legal status of a school district, indicating that the district—formerly under a court-mandated desegregation order—has achieved, to the extent practicable, the court's requirements regarding desegregation. Once districts believe the mandates of their individual court desegregation orders have been met, they can apply for unitary status. When the court grants this status, the court desegregation order is lifted. The district is then no longer subject to court oversight. Without court oversight, unitary districts may return to a system of neighborhood schooling, which often results in rapid resegregation. Beginning with the 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case of Board of Education of the Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell , unitary status rulings have brought about huge rises in segregation in places where increased desegregation was once predominant. This entry looks at the history of court rulings about unitary status. Beginning with the Brown v. Board of Education of ...