Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reflecting on Brown v. Board of Education

As many of you know, the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education is just a couple weeks away.  In advance of the anniversary, numerous organizations, media outlets, and individuals have been reflecting on and updating our history of school desegregation and resegregation.   ProPublica, in particular, has released an extensive report, Segregation Now, which chronicles the story of desegregation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and tells the story of students attending schools today that strongly resemble those of the pre-Brown era. Below is a sampling of other articles and commentary.

From NPR, Six Words: 'Segregation Should Not Determine Our Future'.

From Jose Vilson, Racism without Racists: The School Resegregation Edition.

From the Star-Leger, Six Decades after Brown v. Board of Education, NJ's Schools Are Still Segregated.

From The Grio, Brown v. Board of Education 60 Years Later: Are U.S. Schools Becoming More Segregated Again?

From my perspective, the conversation this time around--as opposed to the 50th Anniversary--is less alarmist in tone.  The story last time was more shocking and came at a time when the possibility of stemming the tide of resegregation seemed more  important (to more more people) and potentially within reach.  This time, unfortunately, some commentaries seem to lament the loss of integration but accept it.  After all, the national conversation regarding education policy and improvement now tends only to turn to segregation on anniversaries.   In fact, I posit that it still remains to be seen whether it will be part of the national conversation this time around.  We have three weeks to see.


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