When the Supreme Court, this week, very narrowly ruled that using race as a criterion for assigning children to schools was unconstitutional, they set off attack after attack claiming that the Supremes have negated the “advances” made under the Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling.
There were essentially two parts of the 1954 Brown v. B.O.E. ruling. One part of Brown declared that states could not continue to create intentionally segregated schools; that part of Brown is “golden” and has not been affected by this weeks decision — nor should it have been. The second part of Brown, however, used flawed logic, needed to be reversed and should have been reversed long ago. This second part of Brown determined that the answer to unequal education was to establish arbitrary racial quotas for schools; all school districts were directed to achieve “racial diversity;” as if sitting children of different races in the same classrooms was, in itself, a solution to the problem of unequal education. This tied the hands of school districts — it gave them no alternative but to move children around like chess pieces so the districts could meet their “quotas.” Viewed from this distance, its easy to see that that accomplished nothing. Oh there were many successes, but any educational advances made by any students of any race under Brown should be attributed to students who had the determination to succeed and the advantage of being raised to believe they could succeed by hard work and proper attitude — to attribute their hard-won successes to a Supreme Court ruling is to deny them the credit they are due.
What Brown should have done, and what must now be done by state governments, is the setting of high educational standards for all schools. The racial make-up of a school should be of no importance; each and every school, however, needs to be a quality school with a fully qualified staff and a budget that allows the educational needs of every student to be met.
Now, with the burden of artificial racial quotas out of the way, school districts can concentrate of improving facilities and staffing levels and can find creative but fair ways to make every school an educational showpiece. If there is to be a Federal mandate it should mandate the quality of the schools and the quality of the education provided, not the racial makeup of the school.
Among the charges flying around in the wake of this weeks SCOTUS decision is an accusation that this is all part of a “Bush administration” plan to create a social system run by “a monied (white) elite”. That particular charge is posed by an activist sociologist by the name of Rowan Wolf in her article at a “progressive” web site called “OpEdNews.com” (linked below). Here is the charge in context:
“What the Bush administration, “conservatives,” and now Bush’s Court, are attempting is the elimination of civil rights and affirmative action advancements over the last 50 years. Why? Is it because they do not want a society with increasing levels of equality and participation? Do they want a society of peasants and patricians? Do they oppose a representative democracy, but support a feudal government run by a monied (white) elite?”
Ms. Wolf is certainly entitled to her opinion but any intelligent reader can tell that this is a lady with a political ax to grind who cares not a whit for logic or truth.
The facts are: institutionalized racism died long ago in the United States but all racism did not die with it. There are still individuals and perhaps entire communities who want no part of anyone who is not of their same race — and this goes for black and oriental and hispanic individuals and communities as well as for white individuals and communities. If Rowan Wolf and other “progressives” like her are expecting the Supreme Court or the Federal government to resolve this situation they are looking in the wrong place. You cannot change opinion or bias with laws, a law will only change what is defined as legal. Attitudes change very slowly and in some individuals they do not change at all. That’s a fact of life that can’t be touched by any government or legal entity.
Washington Post: Court Ruling Likely to Further Segregate Schools, Educators Say
OpEdNews.com: Race(ing) Backwards With Boost From SCOTUS
Wikipedia: Brown v. Board of Education
What Bloggers are saying:
JD2718: Positive discrimination
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