ERIC Number: ED558114
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr-17
Reference Count: N/A
Brown v. Board at 60: Why Have We Been so Disappointed? What Have We Learned?
Economic Policy Institute
May 17 is the 60th anniversary of "Brown v. Board of Education," the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision that prohibited Southern states from segregating schools by race. The "Brown" decision annihilated the "separate but equal" rule, previously sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1896, that permitted states and school districts to designate some schools "whites-only" and others "Negroes-only." More important, by focusing the nation's attention on subjugation of blacks, it helped fuel a wave of freedom rides, sit-ins, voter registration efforts, and other actions leading ultimately to civil rights legislation in the late 1950s and 1960s. But "Brown" was unsuccessful in its purported mission--to undo the school segregation that persists as a central feature of American public education today. This issue brief highlights key elements of the American education system that have evolved in the wake of "Brown." Among these key elements are: (1) Although "Brown" stimulated a civil rights movement that desegregated many facets of American society, it was least successful in integrating education, the decision's aim; (2) Initial school integration gains following "Brown" stalled and black children are more racially and socioeconomically isolated today than at any time since data have been available (1970); (3) Academic achievement of African Americans has improved dramatically in recent decades, but whites' has as well, so racial achievement gaps remain huge; and (4) Schools for black children had enormous resource shortages in 1954. Inequalities still exist in some places, although they are much smaller. But resource equality itself is insufficient; disadvantaged students require much greater resources than middle-class white students to prepare for success in school.
Descriptors: Desegregation Litigation, School Desegregation, Success, Racial Differences, Academic Achievement, Achievement Gap, African American Students, Equal Education, Disadvantaged Youth, Educational Resources, Racial Segregation, Neighborhoods
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Economic Policy Institute
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Brown v Board of Education