Still separate, still unequal: Teaching about school segregation and educational inequality
Racial segregation in public education has been illegal for 65 years in the United States. Yet American public schools remain largely separate and unequal — with profound consequences for students, especially students of color.
Today’s teachers and students should know that the Supreme Court declared racial segregation in schools to be unconstitutional in the landmark 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education. Perhaps less well known is the extent to which American schools are still segregated. According to a recent Times article, “More than half of the nation’s schoolchildren are in racially concentrated districts, where over 75 percent of students are either white or nonwhite.” In addition, school districts are often segregated by income. The nexus of racial and economic segregation has intensified educational gaps between rich and poor students, and between white students and students of color.
Although many students learn about the historical struggles to desegregate schools in the civil rights era, segregation as a current reality is largely absent from the curriculum.