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Department of Justice
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Court Approves Consent Decree to Desegregate Tucson Public Schools

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona today approved a consent decree filed by the Department of Justice, together with private plaintiffs and the Tucson Unified School District. The consent decree is a detailed and concrete plan to desegregate Tucson public schools that will provide African-American and Latino students the educational support and programs they need to learn and thrive.

The consent decree is the latest step in this longstanding desegregation case, originally filed in 1974.  The United States intervened in the case in 1976.  In 2012, the court asked the parties to develop a plan to desegregate the district. After extensive negotiations, the parties jointly submitted the four-year plan requiring the district to undertake a robust set of measures to comply with its longstanding obligations to desegregate its schools. The consent decree touches on nearly every aspect of school operations and lays a strong foundation for a high quality educational environment for all students.


“The plan approved by the court today is a game-changer for the children of Tucson,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It reflects the collective efforts of families and educators in Tucson, and the strong collaboration of the parties in this case, to forge a new path forward for the Tucson public schools.”


The consent decree will ensure that the district:


·          Implements a range of student assignment and transportation strategies to promote integration;

·          Builds and supports a diverse community of teachers and administrators;

·          Establishes culturally responsive curricula to engage and increase the academic achievement of African-American and Latino students;

·          Promotes a safe and inclusive school environment through effective and supportive school discipline policies;

·          Provides all students with increased access to advanced academic opportunities;

·          Strengthens programs to support the academic success and engagement of African-American and Latino students;

·          Develops and implements training and professional development to support culturally responsive learning environments;

·          Engages students, families and communities in school programs and activities;

·          Conducts ongoing monitoring and data-driven evaluations of its desegregation efforts, and submits regular compliance reports. 


The racial desegregation of schools is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. The United States is involved in nearly 200 racial desegregation cases in school districts around the country. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.

Press Release Number: 
Updated August 10, 2015