ERIC Number: EJ792630
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: N/A
Coming Together: How a Half Century of Segregation and Desegregation Continues to Shape New England's Future
Wilson, Blenda J.
Connection: The Journal of the New England Board of Higher Education, v20 n2 p29-31 Fall 2005
If one was an African-American student in a large Northern city 50 years ago, his public school, very likely, would have been segregated--even in New England. Only one year earlier, in "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas," the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that legally sanctioned school segregation violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Following the Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts took legislative action, recognizing that segregation in housing had restricted certain racial and ethnic groups, including African-Americans and Latinos, to neighborhoods whose schools were inferior to schools in predominately white communities. In 1965, Massachusetts Gov. John A. Volpe proposed and the state Legislature approved the Racial Imbalance Act, which prohibited racial imbalance and discouraged schools from having enrollments that are more than 50 percent minority. The state Board of Education required written desegregation plans from school committees in segregated cities, including Boston, Springfield and New Bedford. The Racial Imbalance Law, however, ran into staunch resistance in many parts of the state. One of the striking successes of Massachusetts legislative action was the creation of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO Inc.). This state-funded, voluntary education desegregation program helped eliminate racial imbalance by enabling children from Boston, and later from Springfield, to attend participating suburban public schools. METCO has been a key player in the regional battle for equal educational opportunity. The major policy advances of this new century contain a commitment to educate all children for a competitive world. In addition to historically underrepresented populations--African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans--New England is experiencing a large influx of immigrants from all over the world, including large numbers of school-age children from Brazil, Portugal, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and India. While these groups may live in relatively homogeneous neighborhoods more as a result of choice than discrimination, the educational challenge remains the same as the struggle of the past 50 years--to provide a high-quality education for all.
Descriptors: African American Students, Neighborhoods, Desegregation Plans, Racial Segregation, School Segregation, Ethnic Groups, Racial Composition, Educational Opportunities, Educational Quality, Court Litigation, Student Diversity
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org/connection.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Fourteenth Amendment