ON-Lion Letter
In mid-January, the Center for Individual Rights (CIR) in Washington, D.C., filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education (DOE), challenging the use of separate, lower admissions standards for white students at its prestigious Mark Twain Intermediate School in Coney Island, N.Y.  CIR also moved to intervene in another, desegregation lawsuit, to challenge a 1974 judicial decree that New York education officials say mandates the selective school's embarrassing racial quota.

After CIR's legal moves, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced that DOE will ask a federal judge to lift the 1974 court order.

In the new suit, CIR represents Anjan Rau and Kanchan Katapadi, Asian Indian parents of three children.  Their eldest child, Nikita Rau, was denied admission to Mark Twain last year. 

Nikita scored a 79 on the entrance evaluation for "instrumental musical talent."  White students were admitted that year with scores as low as 77.  Nikita and other minority students were required to score 84.4 or better to be admitted.

In the 1974 suit, DOE was ordered to admit classes to Mark Twain consisting of specified percentages of minority and white students.  Population shifts during the decades since have boosted the number of minority students in the district, so that the school now limits the number of minorities who can attend.

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports CIR.
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