In the Seattle School District, students are allowed to choose which high school they wish to attend. If too many students choose the same school, the district has to turn some students away. To assist in this determination, the district uses tie-breakers. The first tiebreaker tries to keep families together—a student with a brother or sister at the chosen school is given preference. The second tie-breaker tries to keep the racial mix in each high school equal to the racial mix in the district—if a school has too many white students, nonwhites are given preference, and vice versa. Is this use of race constitutionally permissible? What other selection criteria might the district use to make the decision?


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