A federal judge ruled this week that Miami-Dade County’s schools are officially desegregated and no long must remain under supervision. The decision, which ends 31 years of court supervision, should be hailed as a move toward a more racially equal school system as well as an opportunity for other Florida school systems to learn how to maintain desegregation.
In a county that has 360,000 students, 54 percent of which are Hispanic and 32 percent black, it is important that desegregation be maintained. The decision that the county will have a mixed panel appointed by the court to supervise the district in its desegregation efforts shows that while the county may be have achieved desegregation, it will be watched to ensure desegregation is maintained.
Though Miami-Dade may have achieved a “unitary” education system, some critics do not agree the county is ready to leave the supervision of the courts. An attorney for the NAACP said that the decision will have “a disastrous impact” on the community. He says the hiring of teachers and faculty will be unsupervised.
However, the county is not being let to run free. The panel will be responsible for maintaining equality standards and enforcing civil rights. Until the county is allowed an opportunity to govern itself, how will anyone know if desegregation has truly been achieved?
In the 21st century, desegregation should not even be an issue, but in Miami-Dade it is and now has the opportunity to show how it has grown as both an educational system and a community.
The NAACP should support the decision to end court supervision of the county and offer a hand in maintaining the “unitary” status of Miami-Dade. Doing so will show the rest of the state, and the nation, that the past can be overcome and that the future of equality is not an impossibility.