September 01, 2020

Montgomery County parents sue over racial balancing in magnet school admissions

Greenbelt, Maryland; September 1, 2020: A group of parents filed a lawsuit today, alleging racial discrimination in the admissions process for magnet schools of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS).

In 2018, MCPS rolled out a new admissions process for its magnet middle schools, citing “racial and socioeconomic disparities in the enrollment and acceptance rates.” That new admissions program has resulted in far fewer Asian American students being admitted to the schools.

Following the publication of a report that outlined ways to racially balance the schools, the number of Asian American students admitted to the schools took a precipitous drop. Twenty-three percent fewer students were admitted in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2018, the first year under the new program, admission of Asian American students was 40 percent lower than in 2016.

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into MCPS’ admissions program, which is ongoing.

“The county’s admissions process discriminates against Asian American students,” Christopher Kieser, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, said. “Every child should have the same opportunity to access the magnet schools, and the county can’t take their race into account when deciding who can attend those schools. Doing so violates the students’ constitutional rights.”

Pacific Legal Foundation represents the Association for Education Fairness, a group of mostly Asian American parents who have worked to get their children the best education possible. AFEF v. Montgomery County Public Schools was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Case Documents

Complaint
September 01, 2020 Download

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 12 victories out of 14 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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