Original jurisdiction in case of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission v. School District of Philadelphia.
Roy Yaffe, Special Counsel, with him Sanford Kahn, General Counsel, for petitioner.
Martin Horowitz, Assistant Counsel, with him Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for respondent.
Daniel Sherman, for intervenors, Gwynne.
William H. Ewing and Goodman & Ewing, for amicus curiae, East Mt. Airy Neighbors, Inc.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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After nine years, through the combined efforts of the School District of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and the Intervenors in this case, as well as many other dedicated and concerned citizens of Philadelphia, this Court has before it a voluntary plan for the desegration of the Philadelphia public schools. We believe that this plan may well
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 646]
be the "light at the end of the tunnel." We hope that it is.
Initially it should be stated here and constantly kept in mind that the segregation to be corrected in the Philadelphia public schools results from the existence of residential areas in which identifiable racial groups predominate. It does not result from a deliberate design by the School District. And, as was stated by Judge Rogers after 3 days of public hearings in Philadelphia, "[W]e are unable to conclude that the District has deliberately created or preserved a dual school system so as to give the matter constitutional proportions." Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission v. School District of Philadelphia, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 312, 326, 352 A.2d 200, 208 (1976). Judge Rogers' opinion sets forth the history of this case and the problems it presents, and the plan before us is the plan submitted pursuant to Judge Rogers' Order.
No effort will be made to summarize the plan. Suffice it to say that it is built around a new magnet school program and permits students and their parents to select the school to attend as long as the choice is consistent with the desegregation of the system. It has been submitted to and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as sound from an educational point of view, with that Department expressing reservations, however, as to the prospects for success of the plan as a tool for desegregation. The plan has also been submitted to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. The heart of the objection of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to the plan is two-fold. The ...