How Relevant is Brown v. Board of Education Today?
by Warren Simmons
WBUR Cognoscenti (5/19/14)
This month marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared the unconstitutionality of state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students, paving the way for integration.
But how relevant is the framing of Brown v. Board to the current social, cultural and educational challenges facing urban school districts today?
Integration has many shortcomings as a path to equitable education. The Brown v. Board plaintiffs clearly understood that race was actually a crude proxy for equal access to funding for textbooks, curriculum materials, high-quality programs and updated facilities. Segregation — whether by law or by practice — resulted in an inequitable distribution of resources for African American students, seriously hampering and undermining their academic achievement.