Jefferson County Part 2: Race and teacher assignments

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Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky is once again in the news for its integration policies, but this time it's in the limelight for using race as a factor in deciding where to assign teachers.

A black Jefferson County elementary teacher is suing the district, claiming it violated her civil rights when she was denied an interview and a transfer to a school that was closer to her home--all because it had already met its quota of black teachers.

The quota she is talking about refers to the Singleton Ratio, a somewhat common provision found in districts' collective bargaining agreements, including the Jefferson County contract. The clause originates from a 1960s desegregation case in Mississippi, that required the percentage of black teachers in a school to remain within five percentage points of the overall student population in that school. The Singleton provision is used in seven of the largest 50 districts in the country (see