more devastation than in our public schools. Federal courtrntakeovers of our school districts have eliminated our ability tornmonitor and control the education of our children, our mostrnprecious commodih^ and our nation’s future. We must monitorrnclosely what our children are taught, how they are taught,rnand where the’ are taught. We must control the tax moneyrnprovided for their education, and a locally elected school boardrnis the best means of such control.rnAs readers of Chronicles know, the citizens of Rockford, Illinois,rnare caught in a struggle for the control of their schools. Arnfederal magistrate has taken o-er Rockford’s schools and directsrnthe actions and decisions of the elected school board, even orderingrnboard members —under threat of contempt of court,rnfines, removal from office, and even jail—to vote for higher taxes,rntaxes that have been found illegal under state law. It is to thernRockford school board’s credit that they have appealed many ofrnthe court orders, and they have been blessed with an appealsrncourt whose judges (in particular Judge Richard Posner) showrnrare wisdom and understanding.rnBut despite these valiant efforts, Rockford’s neighborhoodrnschools have been destroyed by a “controlled choice” plan orderedrnby the court. While “controlled choice” superficially resemblesrna voucher program, allowing parents to choose to sendrntheir children to an- school in the district, the reality is that arnchild is allowed to enroll in the school of his choice only if thatrnchild’s presence would not disturb the court-prescribed ratio ofrnmajorit)’ to minorit)’ students in that school. A number of studentsrnare involuntarily assigned to schools outside their neighborhood.rnThis court-ordered busing on the basis of race, ridiculouslyrnparading as “desegregation” and as a remedy for pastrnracial discrimination, is being challenged in court by Parentsrnigainst Controlled Choice, a group led by Ron Manns (who isrnblack) on behalf of black, white, and Hispanic students whornwere denied admission to their neighborhood schools on thernbasis of race.rnBut Rockford is not alone. Similar scenarios are plaving outrnin hundreds of American cities, largely unreported beyond therncih’ itself Not content simply to order an end to any deliberaterndiscrimination, for decades federal courts have been mandatingrnracial control, the very thing they should have sought tornend. The public has often been left frustrated and isolated, intimidatedrnby vicious attacks for their opposition to the courtrnmandates. To counter these attacks, the National ^Associationrnfor Neighborhood Schools (NANS) was incorporated in Denver,rnColorado, in 1976 by opposition leaders in affected cities.rnNANS provides the public with accurate information on desegregationrncases and suggests lawful ways to end racial, ethnic,rnand socioeconomic assignment of students, forced busing andrnthe destruction of neighborhood schools, the misuse of taxpayers’rndollars, the disenfranehisement of the public, and the usernof public schools for social engineering.rnA t first, in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, therncourts mostly ordered direct racial assignment to “balance”rnexisting schools, programs, faculty, and extracurricularrnactivities. More recently, the courts have ordered the establishmentrnof “magnet” schools with exotic curriculums and disciplines,rnselling them to parents by touting the “choices” studentsrnare able to make. With choices controlled by prescribed quotas,rnhowever, racial control continues even when direct racialrnassignment slows down. Once magnet schools are established,rnneighborhood schools rarely return, even when a courtrnorder ends.rnIn August 1996, the National Center for Policy Analysis reportedrnthat approximately 800 school districts were under federalrn”desegregation” orders, but no one seems to know exactlyrnhow many nor the status of the cases. The atrocities committedrnunder the guise of “desegregation” in these cities would fill volumes.rnFederal judges have directed elected officials how tornvote, imposed levies to pay for the programs they have ordered,rnand even stripped authority from elected officials.rnOn August 31, 1981, during the early days of the Cleveland,rnOhio, desegregation order, a federal judge had the schoolrnboard president and the treasurer led off to jail in handcuffs forrnobjecting to a court-ordered expense. Two years ago, the federalrnjudge stripped all authority from the seven-member electedrnschool board—which consisted of six black members and onernwhite member—and turned the district over to the state. Onernwould have to question how such an action could be consideredrna remedy for past racial discrimination.rnState legislators collaborated in the final demise of the electedrnschool board by passing a law on July 22, 1997, allowingrnCle’eland’s mayor to appoint the board and a CEO—a movernthat was taken some time ago in Chicago. But while the WindyrnCity is praised nationally for the success of its iriayoral controlrnand site-based management, unhappy parents have learnedrnthat their wishes do not count. Despite their protests, Chicagornschool chief Paul Vallas has vowed to continue a controversialrnbusing plan that would have children at bus stops by 6:00 A.M.rnThe editorial board of Cleveland’s only dail)’ newspaper, thernPlain Dealer, still supports the court rulings that, over therncourse of two decades, have cost well over one billion dollars inrnstate and local money and destroyed the once-excellent schoolrnsystem. The newspaper even declared that dissenting voicesrnshould not be heard, and urged readers to ignore the NANS affiliaternin Cleveland. In fact, much of the local media havernblamed elected school boards for the devastation of the districtrnand praised the mayoral takeover.rnBut even the Plain Dealer could not be silent on the exorbitantrnlegal fees. “Long gone are the days when anyone seriouslyrnthought the plaintiff lawyers were helping anyone but themselves,”rnit editorialized on April 20. The lead plaintiff attorneyrncharges $340 an hour, and the others charge only slightly less.rnIn 1967, Delaware received national acclaim as the first borderrnstate to remove all vestiges of a segregated school system.rnBut in 1978, the Wilmington school district found itself underrnattack by an activist federal court. A federal judge abolished thernWilmington district and ten suburban districts and mergedrnthem into one. Children were bused all over New CastlernCount)’. Although the federal court relinquished control of therndistrict in 1994, the busing order remains mosdy intact—institutionalized.rnOver the 19 years of the scheme’s implementation,rnthe “achievement gap” between black and white studentsrnhas widened—not an uncommon occurrence in desegregationrncases.rnMost people have heard about the Kansas City, Missouri,rncase in which a federal judge imposed taxes—over two billionrndollars worth—to pay for his grandiose scheme of costly, elaboraternmagnet schools, a scheme that failed to lure white studentsrnto the district or increase academic achievement. Even withrnthe court-imposed taxes, the plan could not be financed, butrnthe court refused to end its invoK’ement until the district wasrnconsidered “financially viable.” Despite massive budget cuts,rnreorganization, and school closings, the tax rate needed to re-rnSEPTEMBER 1998/15rnrnrn