Candorville: 7/10/2007- Brown v. Board of Education, part I
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July 10th, 2007

Candorville: 7/10/2007- Brown v. Board of Education, part I

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

JUNE 28, 2007, will be remembered as a shameful day in the long, elusive battle to instill equal opportunity in American schools.The U.S. Supreme Court’s twisted logic in limiting a school district’s ability to take race into account as a way to end racial segregation echoes the court’s Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling of 1896. That ruling put the imprimatur on “separate but equal” policies that allowed racial discrimination and oppression to flourish for more than half-a-century more.The 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision, fortunately, drove a dagger into Plessy’s heart — until Thursday, when a court invigorated by two new conservative justices moved to resuscitate it.What made the court’s Parents vs. Seattle and Meredith vs. Jefferson County rulings even more unsettling was their distortion of Brown vs. Board of Education — the very decision that has done so much to reverse racial segregation — as the chief legal weapon to reinstate it.Brown resoundingly concluded that “separate but equal” facilities have a deleterious impact on our most disadvantaged students.But even schools that are separate typically are not equal. Schools in neighborhoods with a high proportion of black and other low-income minority students usually have far fewer resources than those in more affluent neighborhoods, where white students are usually concentrated.Equally disturbing is that Thursday’s rulings were a response to a small number parents, who did not get into the schools they desired. Compare that to Brown vs. Board of Education, which at least addressed a festering problem that affected millions of Americans consigned to segregated, inferior schools.We empathize with parents excluded from schools they desire for their children (although barring the use of race wouldn’t necessarily guarantee admission to a particular school). But their unhappiness should not be allowed to undermine one of the great advances in the fight against eliminating inequality in our schools and more broadly in greater society.More…