Still Separate And Unequal
May 17, 2012 by Bob Livingston
Fifty-eight years ago today, the United States Supreme Court decided Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka and ruled that separate but equal school facilities stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on black students and public school systems were required to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”
Did integration accomplish what the court sought to accomplish? Hardly. Today, thanks to the Department of Education, children are required to attend a school near their home, with few exceptions. Most minorities now live in cities, while most white students now live in the suburbs and rural areas.
Studies show that students at inner city schools are less likely to graduate than students at suburban schools. A report by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center in 2008 found that 75 percent of students at suburban districts received their diplomas, but only 58 percent of students in urban districts did. The main school districts of Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Baltimore had the lowest graduations rates in the country. All were below 40 percent. Detroit’s was 25 percent.
In Baltimore, suburban students graduated at an 82 percent clip. But only 35 percent of urban students graduated.
According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, most public school classrooms are either mostly white or all white or they are mostly or all minority. More than half of all public school 12th graders are in classrooms where either more than 90 percent or fewer than 10 percent are minorities.
Contrast that with private schools, which more accurately reflect the nation’s racial mix. Private schools draw students from across neighborhoods and consistently score better on standardized tests and have higher graduation rates.
Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka has done nothing to enhance the educational opportunities of minority students because of the policies of the Department of Education and the teachers unions, which have fought tooth and nail against school choice.
Giving parents the freedom to select the school they want their children to attend will improve the educational opportunities for all children. Failing schools would go the way of the dodo bird, and with them would go failing kids.