In today’s public schools, students designated as “white” and “Asian” consistently outperform students from other ethnic groups in test scores and graduation rates. These disparities, commonly called “the achievement gap,” are a symptom of greater issues, or “opportunity gaps.” Washington State has recently taken a further step to address the achievement gap and racial discrimination in schools. In 2010, the Washington legislature passed the Equal Education Opportunity Law (EEOL), HB 3026, in response to the recommendations in commissioned achievement gap studies. The EEOL authorizes the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to enforce this law through regulations. This Comment argues that the OSPI’s promulgated regulations to enforce the EEOL cannot effectively carry out the intent of the EEOL because they do not expressly prohibit disparate impact discrimination. Because legislators intended the EEOL to close the achievement gap, which results from race-neutral policies, an explicit prohibition of disparate impact discrimination is necessary to seriously address these deeply rooted problems.
Sarah Albertson, The Achievement Gap and Disparate Impact Discrimination in Washington Schools, 36 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1919 (2013).