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67 Ohio State Law Journal 37 (2006)


The expansion of school choice in elementary and secondary education, particularly in urban areas, is one of largest current educational reform movements sweeping the nation. This is true despite the fact that it is still too early for a consensus to develop about the educational benefits of increased choice. 1 Society always precedes schooling. Thus, major educational reforms pass in and out of favor depending on social conditions and how prevailing patterns of understanding interpret those conditions.2 Among the most significant social developments influencing educational reforms are legal decisions. Since the Supreme Court is the final authority on constitutional law, its decisions influencing education are particularly significant in determining the direction of educational reform. This Article will discuss the role of the Supreme Court's decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause in the expansion of school choice. This Article seeks to focus attention upon the impact of the well-known fundamental shift that has occurred over the past thirty-five years in the way that the Supreme Court interprets the equal protection rights of black and other disadvantaged minority school children in the context of public education. These decisions by the Supreme Court have set up barriers and boundaries to educational reform that have made the expansion of school choice inevitable.