PRRAC Update  

February 9, 2012   




Welcome to the PRRAC Update!  Every other Thursday, PRRAC sends out a brief digest of news, recent publications, and other points of interest related to our work in housing, education, and health. We welcome feedback and encourage you to forward to others. To join the PRRAC email list, click here.



Magner v. Gallagher:  The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to accept an appeal in the Magner v. Gallagher case, which questions the long-settled interpretation that the Fair Housing Act can be used to challenge government and private policies that have a "disparate impact" based on race, disability, sex, or other protected classification, without any proof of discriminatory "intent."  The disparate impact standard in the Fair Housing Act has been accepted by every Court of Appeals over the last 30+ years, and is a critical element of our civil rights laws. PRRAC recently joined in a broad friend-of-the-court campaign to support the position of the plaintiffs in Magner, and to preserve the disparate impact standard.   We have compiled some of the key amicus briefs here.  Oral argument is scheduled for February 29th.  


More commentary on the Manhattan Institute study:  Last week we shared some initial thoughts on the Manhattan Institute's "End of the Segregated Century" report - since our email went out we have received this excellent commentary from Richard Rothstein which underscores many of the problems with the study.  The Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance also weighed in with a thoughtful commentary, criticizing the study's attempts to redefine segregation.  And our own Board member Sheryll Cashin debated one of the report's author's last week on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" - worth listening!    For more detail on your metro area, we also recommend the interactive maps of metropolitan segregation put out recently by ReMapping Debate.


Staff position at PRRAC:  We are currently advertising for a Senior Policy Counsel position.  See the posting here, and please pass on to colleagues who may be interested.


Other news and resources  


Single-sex education:  In a research review article in Education Week, Pedro Noguera expresses concern over the lack of evidence supporting the proliferation of single-sex schools as a response to the education crisis facing Black and Latino boys - and urges a focus on proven educational models that do not necessarily involve separating low income boys and girls (Noguera is a member of PRRAC's Social Science Advisory Board).   See also this related ACLU blog.  


"This Week in Poverty," Greg Kaufmann's new blog for The Nation can be found at





Philip Tegeler

Saba Bireda

Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Washington, DC