People of Color Receiving an “Equal” Education
When someone mentions race and education in the same sentence, a lot of people will think of the 1954 and 1955 Supreme Court Cases of Brown vs. The Board of Education, (cases is plural as there were actually 5 separate cases) outlawing state-sponsored segregation in public schools. While the case was monumental for our country, it is completely overestimated in its effects. Yes, it ended yet another institutional program that was overtly racist, but it left so many other problems unanswered. Now it’s time for us to start addressing all of the other racial issues that are scribed into our educational system. To think that a very specific ruling that attempted to rectify more than one hundred years of systemic inequalities would suffice in fixing the issues is laughable.
It has been argued that the underlying framework to the U.S. educational system was the same that “justified slavery, peonage, segregation, and lynching and thus, schooling that did not challenge this framework would only lead to education that trapped African Americans within the existing system” (Tosolt). This idea needs to be acknowledged and taken more seriously as a claim. While I believe it to be true, even the fact that scholars are proposing this idea should be disturbing. We see a prevalence and truth to their claims though, as with our current system, there is ostracization of non-white identities. The idea of ‘if you’re not white this isn’t your home is extremely prevalent in all aspects of our society, it is common sense to assume the ideals are embedded into the system where individuals in our society develop their values, morals, and ideals.
If you were to venture out and go to a poor school district, chances are the majority of students attending that school would belong to a race other than White. In my personal experience, I was a student at both Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) and the suburban school district of Rush-Henrietta (RH). The first notable difference is the stark contrast of the demographics, with the Buffalo Public Schools being majorly Black or African American (48%) and Hispanic (19%) while Rush-Henrietta was majorly white (63%). The following greatest difference is the number of resources available to each student, with RH having far greater and superior technologies available to students than that of students at BPS. It is important to also mention that the percent of economically disadvantaged students at BPS is a staggering 82%, while at RH that number is nearly half at 42%. In my own life, I have seen the discrepancies in the integrity of education for Whites and Blacks.
While equality is still the goal, but the means to get there can no longer be attempting to create the system “equal” we need an equitable system to transgress beyond our well-established systematic racism.
Buffalo City School District Enrollment . data.nysed.gov. (2016). https://data.nysed.gov/enrollment.php year=2016&instid=800000052968.
History — Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment. United States Courts. https://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/history-brown-v-board-education-re-enactment.
Kelly, M. (2019, January 30). What Brown v. Board of Education Did for American Schools. ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/brown-v-board-of-education-104963.
Rush-Henrietta CSD Enrollment . data.nysed.gov. (2017). https://data.nysed.gov/enrollment.php?year=2017&instid=800000050593.
Tosolt, B. (2019). Dear white teacher: this black history month, take a knee. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 33(7), 773–789. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2019.1706198