Hobson v. Hansen, Civ. A. No. 82-66.

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Writing for the CourtIn 1958-59, an elementary school racial count uncovered the following information
Citation269 F. Supp. 401
PartiesJulius W. HOBSON, individually and on behalf of Jean Marie Hobson and Julius W. Hobson, Jr., et al., Plaintiffs, v. Carl F. HANSEN, Superintendent of Schools of the District of Columbia, the Board of Education of the District of Columbia et al., Defendants.
Decision Date19 June 1967
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 82-66.

269 F. Supp. 401

Julius W. HOBSON, individually and on behalf of Jean Marie Hobson and Julius W. Hobson, Jr., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Carl F. HANSEN, Superintendent of Schools of the District of Columbia, the Board of Education of the District of Columbia et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 82-66.

United States District Court District of Columbia.

June 19, 1967.


269 F. Supp. 402
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269 F. Supp. 403
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269 F. Supp. 404
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269 F. Supp. 405
William M. Kunstler, Jerry D. Anker and Herbert O. Reid, Sr., Washington, D. C., for plaintiffs

Charles T. Duncan, Corp. Counsel for District of Columbia, Matthew J. Mullaney, Jr. and John A. Earnest, Asst. Corp. Counsel, and James M. Cashman and Robert R. Redmon, Asst. Corp. Counsel at time of trial, for defendants.

J. SKELLY WRIGHT, Circuit Judge*:

SUMMARY

In Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497, 74 S.Ct. 693, 98 L.Ed. 884 (1954), the Supreme Court held that the District of Columbia's racially segregated public school system violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. The present litigation, brought in behalf of Negro as well as poor children generally in the District's public schools, tests the current compliance of those schools with the principles announced in Bolling, its companion case, Brown v. Board of

269 F. Supp. 406
Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954), and their progeny. The basic question presented is whether the defendants, the Superintendent of Schools and the members of the Board of Education, in the operation of the public school system here, unconstitutionally deprive the District's Negro and poor public school children of their right to equal educational opportunity with the District's white and more affluent public school children. This court concludes that they do

In support of this conclusion the court makes the following principal findings of fact:

1. Racially and socially homogeneous schools damage the minds and spirit of all children who attend them—the Negro, the white, the poor and the affluent— and block the attainment of the broader goals of democratic education, whether the segregation occurs by law or by fact.

2. The scholastic achievement of the disadvantaged child, Negro and white, is strongly related to the racial and socio-economic composition of the student body of his school. A racially and socially integrated school environment increases the scholastic achievement of the disadvantaged child of whatever race.

3. The Board of Education, which is the statutory head of the public schools in the District, is appointed pursuant to a quota system which, until 1962, for over half a century had limited the Negro membership of the nine-man Board to three. Since 1962 the Negro quota on the Board has been four, one less than a majority. The city of Washington, which is the District of Columbia, presently has a population over 60% Negro and a public school population over 90% Negro.

4. Adherence to the neighborhood school policy by the School Board effectively segregates the Negro and the poor children from the white and the more affluent children in most of the District's public schools. This neighborhood school policy is relaxed by the Board through the use of optional zones for the purpose of allowing white children, usually affluent white children, "trapped" in a Negro school district, to "escape" to a "white" or more nearly white school, thus making the economic and racial segregation of the public school children more complete than it would otherwise be under a strict neighborhood school assignment plan.

5. The teachers and principals in the public schools are assigned so that generally the race of the faculty is the same as the race of the children. Thus most of the schools can be identified as "Negro" or "white," not only by reference to the predominant race of the children attending, but by the predominant race of the faculty as well. The heaviest concentration of Negro faculty, usually 100%, is in the Negro ghetto schools.

6. The median annual per pupil expenditure ($292) in the predominantly (85-100%) Negro elementary schools in the District of Columbia has been a flat $100 below the median annual per pupil expenditure for its predominantly (85-100%) white schools ($392).

7. Generally the "white" schools are underpopulated while the "Negro" schools generally are overcrowded. Moreover, all of the white elementary schools have kindergartens. Some Negro schools are without kindergartens entirely while other Negro schools operate kindergartens in shifts or consecutive sessions. In addition to being overcrowded and short on kindergarten space, the school buildings in the Negro slums are ancient and run down. Only recently, through the use of impact aid and other federal funds, have the Negro slum schools had sufficient textbooks for the children's use.

8. As they proceed through the Washington school system, the reading scores primarily of the Negro and poor children, but not the white and middle class, fall increasingly behind the national norm. By senior high school the discrepancy reaches several grades.

9. The track system as used in the District's public schools is a form of ability grouping in which students are divided in separate, self-contained curricula or tracks ranging from "Basic"

269 F. Supp. 407
for the slow student to "Honors" for the gifted

10. The aptitude tests used to assign children to the various tracks are standardized primarily on white middle class children. Since these tests do not relate to the Negro and disadvantaged child, track assignment based on such tests relegates Negro and disadvantaged children to the lower tracks from which, because of the reduced curricula and the absence of adequate remedial and compensatory education, as well as continued inappropriate testing, the chance of escape is remote.

11. Education in the lower tracks is geared to what Dr. Hansen, the creator of the track system, calls the "blue collar" student. Thus such children, so stigmatized by inappropriate aptitude testing procedures, are denied equal opportunity to obtain the white collar education available to the white and more affluent children.

Other incidental, but highly indicative, findings are as follows: a. The June 1964—December 1965 study by the Office of the Surgeon General, Army, shows that 55.3% of the 18-year-olds from the District of Columbia failed the Armed Services mental test, a higher percentage than any of the 50 states. b. The average per pupil expenditure in the District's public schools is only slightly below the national average. The 1964-65 Bureau of the Census Report on Governmental Finances shows, however, that the District of Columbia spends less per capita on education generally than all states except Arkansas and Tennessee. c. The same report shows that the District of Columbia spends more per capita on police protection than all states without exception. In fact, the District of Columbia spends more than double any state other than Nevada, New York, New Jersey and California. The inferences, including those bearing on the relationship of the quality of education to crime, which arise from these findings are obvious. Indeed, the National Crime Commission's Task Force Report: Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime indicates that the very deficiencies in the District's public school system noted by the record in this case—prejudging, through inappropriate testing, the learning abilities of the disadvantaged child as inferior to the white middle class child; placing the child in lower tracks for reduced education based on such tests, thus implementing the self-fulfilling prophecy phenomenon inherent in such misjudgments; placing inferior teachers in slum schools; continuing racial and economic segregation of pupils; providing textbooks unrelated to the lives of disadvantaged children; inadequate remedial programs for offsetting initial psychological and social difficulties of the disadvantaged child— all have contributed to the increase in crime, particularly juvenile crime.

In sum, all of the evidence in this case tends to show that the Washington school system is a monument to the cynicism of the power structure which governs the voteless capital of the greatest country on earth.

Remedy

To correct the racial and economic discrimination found in the operation of the District of Columbia public school system, the court has issued a decree attached to its opinion ordering: 1. An injunction against racial and economic discrimination in the public school system here. 2. Abolition of the track system. 3. Abolition of the optional zones. 4. Transportation for volunteering children in overcrowded school districts east of Rock Creek Park to underpopulated schools west of the Park. 5. The defendants, by October 2, 1967, to file for approval by the court a plan for pupil assignment eliminating the racial and economic discrimination found to exist in the operation of the Washington public school system. 6. Substantial integration of the faculty of each school beginning with the school year 1967-68. 7. The defendants, by October 2, 1967, to file for approval by the court a teacher assignment plan fully integrating the faculty of each school.

269 F. Supp. 408

The United States is invited to intervene in these proceedings to assist in implementing the decree, to suggest changes in the decree, and to take whatever other steps it deems appropriate in the interest of public education in the District of Columbia.

FINDINGS OF FACT

I. STUDENT SEGREGATION

A. De Jure Segregation and Bolling v. Sharpe.

Until 1954 the public schools in the District of Columbia were racially segregated by law.1 The school system was divided up into Division I (white) and Division II (Negro), each with its own elementary and junior and senior high schools, each with teaching and administrative personnel of the one...

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141 practice notes
  • Liddell v. BD. OF ED., CITY OF ST. LOUIS, ETC., No. 72-100C(1).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • April 12, 1979
    ...of de jure segregation warranting judicial intervention. 402 U.S., at 31-32, 91 S.Ct. 1267 at 1283-1284. See also Hobson v. Hansen, 269 F.Supp. 401, 495 (D.C.1967), aff'd sub nom. Smuck v. Hobson, 132 U.S.App.D.C. 372, 408 F.2d 175 Keyes, supra, 413 U.S. at 210-11, 93 S.Ct. at 2698. Applica......
  • United States v. School District 151 of Cook County, Ill., Civ. A. No. 68 C 755.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 15, 1969
    ...of the District provides no educational justification for the segregation of pupils and teachers found in this case. Hobson v. Hansen, 269 F.Supp. 401 (D.D.C., 1967), affirmed, 408 F.2d 175 (D.C.Cir., decided January 21, 21. Racial desegregation of Negro and white pupils may present to scho......
  • Palmer v. Thompson, No. 23841.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 25, 1969
    ...98 L.Ed. 873; Guillory v. Administrators of Tulane University, E.D.La.1962, 203 F. Supp. 855, 859, 863; Hobson v. Hansen, D.D.C.1967, 269 F.Supp. 401. 8 Reynolds v. Sims, 1964, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 9 Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686; Shuttlesw......
  • People ex rel. Lynch v. San Diego Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 13, 1971
    ...Supra, 317 F.Supp. 980, 986; Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education, Supra, 311 F.Supp. 501, 522; Hobson v. Hansen, D.C., 269 F.Supp. 401, 497, 503--506; Blocker v. Board of Education of Manhasset, New York, D.C., 226 F.Supp. 208, 226; Branche v. Board of Education of Town of Hempstea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
140 cases
  • Liddell v. BD. OF ED., CITY OF ST. LOUIS, ETC., No. 72-100C(1).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • April 12, 1979
    ...of de jure segregation warranting judicial intervention. 402 U.S., at 31-32, 91 S.Ct. 1267 at 1283-1284. See also Hobson v. Hansen, 269 F.Supp. 401, 495 (D.C.1967), aff'd sub nom. Smuck v. Hobson, 132 U.S.App.D.C. 372, 408 F.2d 175 Keyes, supra, 413 U.S. at 210-11, 93 S.Ct. at 2698. Applica......
  • United States v. School District 151 of Cook County, Ill., Civ. A. No. 68 C 755.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 15, 1969
    ...of the District provides no educational justification for the segregation of pupils and teachers found in this case. Hobson v. Hansen, 269 F.Supp. 401 (D.D.C., 1967), affirmed, 408 F.2d 175 (D.C.Cir., decided January 21, 21. Racial desegregation of Negro and white pupils may present to scho......
  • Palmer v. Thompson, No. 23841.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 25, 1969
    ...98 L.Ed. 873; Guillory v. Administrators of Tulane University, E.D.La.1962, 203 F. Supp. 855, 859, 863; Hobson v. Hansen, D.D.C.1967, 269 F.Supp. 401. 8 Reynolds v. Sims, 1964, 377 U.S. 533, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 12 L.Ed.2d 9 Brown v. Board of Education, 1954, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686; Shuttlesw......
  • People ex rel. Lynch v. San Diego Unified School Dist.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 13, 1971
    ...Supra, 317 F.Supp. 980, 986; Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education, Supra, 311 F.Supp. 501, 522; Hobson v. Hansen, D.C., 269 F.Supp. 401, 497, 503--506; Blocker v. Board of Education of Manhasset, New York, D.C., 226 F.Supp. 208, 226; Branche v. Board of Education of Town of Hempstea......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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