Impact of Brown versus Board of Education Today
Over fifty years after the legendary ruling that determined that segregation in schools was unconstitutional, Brown v. Board of Education is still a topic of fierce discussion. One of the largest debates is the impact that this historic ruling had on public school both then and now. Surprisingly, one of the main discussion points is whether or not Brown v. Board of Education actually managed to reach its goal of integrating students and guaranteeing the rights of all American students to receive equal education under the law. The emphatic answer is a resounding, no.
The judges who presided over Brown v. Board of Education stated that they believed that denying children access to a school on the basis of race alone deprived them of equal opportunities for education. However, it appears as though educators and politicians have been finding ways around that ruling. From the ghettos of the District of Columbia to the barrio areas of California, minority public schools, and even some non-minority schools, are without proper funding and resources. For those confined to area schools by poverty and lack of transportation, education in America is still separate and unequal.
From charter schools to homeschooling, parents who have the financial means are exercising their right to choose whichever education format they want for their children. In itself, this is not really a problem. However, members of the same race tend to live together and there are many communities that are heavily populated by the same group. The consequence to this is that an entire generation of American youth is growing up without knowing how to socialize with members of other races. Nevertheless, these are the very same people they will be competing with and working with in the workforce.
The racial situation with public education is cloudy at best. Programs like Affirmative Action are receiving criticism from many Americans who either see them as outdated or as a type of “reverse racism.” After all, what’s the difference between telling a school who they must admit and who they must not? It seems as though, fifty years after the fact, people are drifting right back to the same segregationist mentality. The reasons may differ, but the end result is the same.
At its time, Brown v. Board of Education was a radical and revolutionary case. However, in as much as it opened the door for the Civil Rights Movement, it was not all-powerful. People can choose which school to send their children to and, if you happen to live in an area that is rezoned by the local authorities, then your options are limited. The final analysis is that Brown v. Board of Education gave people the “option” of integrating school, but did not make it mandatory. Because of that, its true impact will be determined by the nature of people, not the system.
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