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Questioning School Quotas

Jeffrey Eisenberg wanted his son to transfer from his public school to a magnet school in his same district, which offered special classes in math and computers. But he was denied permission because of the quota system, reports CBS News Correspondent Thalia Assuras.

"We received a letter back from the county saying he was denied because of his race," Eisenberg said.

Eisenberg sued. And this week a federal appeals court ruled on his side, sending shock waves through the whole nations' public schools.

"It's a difficult, unsettled area in this country and I regret being on the opposite side of those who are trying to solve it. But my overwhelming feeling is relief," Eisenberg said.

All schools are required to maintain balance in their student body as much as possible. But it's such a delicate balance that sometimes -- like in the Eisenberg's case -- when just one child leaves, that mix gets thrown off. And that's why school officials refused to let Eisenberg's son transfer. It would have left Glen Haven with too few white children.

In similar suits brought by white parents in Boston, Charlotte, and Arlington, Virginia, the courts have also ruled in their favor. Now school administrators across the country worry this trend might prompt "white flight" from public schools.

"I think that if we had any one cultural group that chose to remove the children, the message of the greater community is what's wrong," said Jevoner Adams, the principal of Glen Haven Elementary.

This week Montgomery County decides whether to ask the Supreme Court to hear their case. In the meantime parents and schools will continue to struggle over whether or not racial balance is a necessary part of a good education.