In Public Schools

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Is Segregation Still Alive?

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 2010

SEGapril03Classrooms across America reflect the melting pot that is our country. The mandates of Brown versus The Board of Education ruling unfortunately created some of these melting pots artificially. The awareness of segregation in the schools became apparent when Linda Brown’s parents sued the Topeka, Kansas school district. While the action was justified, the effects on school corporations and students that follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit, create a new problem.

Linda Brown lived in a school system that segregated its students based on race. This eight-year-old child had to travel miles across Topeka, Kansas to attend her grade school, simply because she was black. Her white friends from the same neighborhood simply walked a few blocks to their school. The law at the time allowed this because it followed the separate but equal doctrine.

However, Linda’s parents didn’t believe that she received equal treatment and took the issue to court. Lower courts ruled in favor of the school system based on the separate but equal doctrine. The parents then took the issue to federal court stating that the facilities for black students was far from equal to that of the white students. Thurgood Marshall argued the case in court and found that even though the facilities may have been equal, the simple act of segregation caused an inferior label placed on the black student.

This was the end of not just school segregation but also segregation of public facilities in general. It also was the beginning of efforts to create racially balanced classrooms, often at the expense of children’s well being and educational processes.

Many corporations today put their students into the same situation that Linda Brown had to endure. The reason, however, is the exact opposite of Linda’s. It is in an effort to provide racially balanced classrooms. While the segregation of races created long travel time for Linda to attend her school, the desegregation attempts now create similar situations for many urban children.

America has always had neighborhoods populated with those of similar ethnic backgrounds. The populace of the neighborhood could be recent immigrants of a particular country or those of a particular race.  Many times, you’ll find a large black community in one area and a white community equally as large across town.

If children attended the school closest to them, the ethnicity of the neighborhood dictated a racial unbalance. Schools across the country attempted to create artificial balance by bussing students to other schools a distance from their home. The problem creates not only expense of bussing but also cuts many students out of before and after school activities because of the distance and lack of transportation.

The ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education attempted to stop the useless bussing of students simply based on race. Today, school corporations use that ruling to promote the bussing of students based on race, even though it’s an attempt to balance the race. The results are fewer dollars for the classroom and disruption in the lives of children bussed. What initially was a case to stop unnecessary travel based on race now promotes it. While these corporations follow the letter of the law, they would be better to follow the spirit of the law and use the funds they save on bussing to improve the quality of education.

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