Freedom of Choice (schools)

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Freedom of Choice (also free transfer) was the name for a number of plans developed in the US during 1965-70, aimed at the integration of schools in states that had a segregated educational system.

The Plans[edit]

10 years after the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown II (1955) for school racial integration with all deliberate speed, many school districts in states with school segregation gave their students the right to choose between white and black schools, independent of their race. In practice, most schools remained segregated, with only a small minority of black students choosing to attend a white school and no white student choosing black schools.[1]


In 1968, three cases[2] were argued before the US Supreme Court on the inadequacy of Freedom of Choice plans. The Supreme Court ruled that if Freedom of Choice by itself was not sufficient to achieve integration, as it was in the cases argued, other means had to be used, such as zoning, to achieve this goal. This ruling and its consequences raised strong opposition in many school districts where this kind of plan had been applied. By the early 1970s, none of these plans remained in effect.


  1. ^ Green v. County School Board, 391 U.S. 430 (1968). Allen, Jody and Daugherity, Brian. “Recovering a ‘Lost’ Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court’s Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision,” Oral History Review, vol. 3, issue 2, 25-45 (June 2006).
  2. ^ Green v. County School Board, Raney v. Board of Education, Monroe v. Board of Commissioners