Presentation on theme: "Brown vs. Board of Education : Yesterday and Today Source:Rosen, Jeffrey,The Lost Promise of School Integration, The Sunday New York Times, The Week in."— Presentation transcript:
In 1954 the Supreme Court was asked to decide the following question: Does segregation in public schools deprive students of their right to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment? In 1954 the Court unanimously decided that: Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. By this the Court meant that educating children of different races together was the key to the crucial project of creating a society less divided by race.
How was the Brown decision implemented? From the beginning the Courts were willing to force integration through mandatory busing.
For all intents and purposes mandatory busing ended in the mid-1990s. Now judges and parents are questioning the constitutionality and value of programs that try to create racially balanced schools, without busing, by restricting who can go to school where.
Has the Promise of School Integration Been Lost? Are efforts to achieve racially integrated public schools legally and politically doomed? Will the central premise of the Brown decision - that integrated public schools are the most important institution in a pluralistic society – survive the 21 st century?
In March of this year the Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court decision that school authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, violated the Constitution when they tried to prevent a white student from transferring to a magnet school from his neighborhood elementary school, which is predominantly black. The Montgomery Case is only the most recent in a series of decisions, going back several years, that is making it difficult for public schools to maintain even a semblance of racial diversity in a judicial and political climate that exalts choice above all other values.
The Problem Today? Today the problem or question appears to be How to maintain racial diversity in a climate that exalts choice.
Background to the Montgomery County, Maryland Case Montgomery County, Maryland is 53% white.
Glen Haven Elementary School, Montgomery County, Maryland White enrollment at the Glen Haven elementary school dropped from 40% in 1995 to 24% in 1998.
When Montgomery County acted to stop this rapid decline in white enrollment: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District in Virginia rejected the countys policy that no student could transfer out of a school to a magnet school, for instance, if the transfer would adversely affect racial diversity, unless he or she could prove some kind of unique personal hardship. In making this decision The Court concluded that the Constitution prohibits racial balancing from being used as the decisive factor in school assignments.
The Supreme Court and Racial Balancing? For years now the Supreme Court has restricted the use of race to distribute government benefits. These decisions have left few alternatives open to school districts that value integration.
CONTROLLED CHOICE? Even one of the few successful efforts to achieve integration in school districts as a whole, called controlled choice is now in legal jeopardy. Controlled choice is a program in which all schools are open to everyone, regardless of where they live and parents rank the schools in order of preference. But each school must have a balanced racial mix. Controlled choice programs will be doomed if the Supreme Court ultimately decides that racial integration for its own sake cant justify race- based admissions policies.
Control or Entice? In this this new era only strategies that entice parental choice, rather than control it, can receive constitutional approval.
Choice Plans? Choice plans that allow black parents to send their children to white suburban schools exist. Although 20 states allow this kind of choice, few provide for the subsidized transportation that would enable minority parents to avail themselves of this opportunity.
VOUCHERS? Because money is necessary to allow poor parents the same opportunity to escape failing inner city schools as richer parents enjoy, this perhaps accounts for the growing support among minorities for school vouchers.
Do Vouchers Promote Integration? Voucher schools tend to be more racially integrated than the public schools.. In Cleveland, for instance, 20% of voucher recipients attend private schools that reflect the racial composition of the city as a whole, while only 5.2% of Cleveland public school students are in comparably integrated schools
What is more important to Americans, racial diversity or raising academic standards? In a 1998 survey conducted by Public Agenda: 82% of 800 black parents said raising academic standards was more important than achieving more diversity and integration. Although overwhelming, these numbers do not tell the whole story. In the same poll, 80% of black parents and 66% of 800 white parents said it was very important or somewhat important to them that their children attend an integrated school.. without the means to choose an education that is both integrated and adequate are willing to settle for quality.Conclusion:? It appears that only those without the means to choose an education that is both integrated and adequate are willing to settle for quality.
To Sum Up: The Brown decision ideally assumed that the removal of state-enforced segregation would be enough to integrate schools around the country This view proved to be naïve and untenable. But now that the legal and political tolerance for even mildly coercive forms of integration appears to be evaporating, the hope of integrated public schools may soon be a distant memory.