“How Brown V. Board of Education Changed—and didn’t Change—American Education”

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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?The article “How Brown v. Board of Education Changed—and Didn’t Change—American Education” by the Atlantic article authored by Ronald Brownstein underscores the current progress and lows concerning the Supreme Court landmark ruling that did away with the “separate but equal” approach that had existed for many decades. It is of the view that it has changed and not changed to an extent American education. The bottom-line is that inequality still exists in American society despite the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. It is important to recall that in this milestone Supreme Court case, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to separate children on the grounds of race in public schools. The legalized racial segregation in the United States came to an end with the landmark ruling.

The article also pinpoints that the Plessy v.Ferguson case of 1896 came to a crashing end that operated on the principle of “separate but equal” (Brownstein par.3). In this landmark civil rights case between Linda Brown and the board of education of Topeka, the Supreme Court gave its unanimous decision on the 17th of May 1954. It stated categorically that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools undermined the 14th amendment. The ruling set a precedent for further civil rights movements in the 1950s. The verdict brought into question how it would be implemented, but a year later after the ruling, the supreme court justice reemphasized that states should begin in earnest the desegregation plans. It brought a debate from some quarters such as the constitutional scholars that argued the ruling was unconstitutional and that the court had overstepped its mandate. Despite the resistance, the author infers that the ruling transformed the US into a multiracial nation of the world (Brownstein par.3).

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The article notes that American education is characterized by two milestones where the current one is reshaping the legacy of the first milestone (Brownstein par.1). The article reiterates the fundamental goal of Brown’s case ruling that ensured educational opportunity for all the Americans. It acknowledges that the ruling was a genuine hinge to the history of the US. The author notes that this landmark ruling faced massive opposition across the South; it paved the way for the enactment of the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights ten years later (Brownstein par.3). It is also prudent to address the fact that scholars and advocates are assessing Brown’s legacy. It reports that the ruling has not lived its purpose and thus unsuccessful in eradicating school segregation. It persists in American society today.

The article also notes some success brought about by the ruling and reports that blacks have slightly surpassed the whites in holding high school degrees and that is a tremendous achievement when compared to the status of African-Americans’ education before Brown ruling. However, other disparities still exist such as the fact that whites complete college at higher rates than the blacks (Brownstein par.7). It asserts that Brown’s ruling has not yet achieved integration which is contrary to its mission; hence it is unfinished business. It reports that the Latino and black students are still victims of “resegregation” in the public school system (Brownstein par.8). Complementary to this is economic isolation where the students from the minority groups qualify for low-income jobs. The article concludes by recommending that all young people should be provided with equal opportunities to develop their potentials or talents and thus guarantee a competitive American society in the future. It notes that the barriers to this achievement are rising and should be mitigated.

?The article is objective in its approach to dissecting of the current status of education after decades of the landmark Brown’s ruling. This article is more than just informative since it critics in both perspectives and harmonizes the issues to guide the way forward. The title itself is well framed and sums up what the purpose of the article is all about. It should be acknowledged for first appreciating the successes of Brown’s ruling and later on addressing the critical areas that need improvement. The author is not bipartisan but takes a neutral stand to bring out the issues as they are regarding the status of racial segregation in contemporary society.

Furthermore, it will be an understatement not to acknowledge the article for addressing a societal issue that is so sensitive and critical to the harmony and progress of a nation. The issue of racial segregation in the public school system is not a minor issue. It is a core issue that touches many aspects of the society such as racial harmony and economic status of a nation. If the majority of the minority children are not provided with equal opportunities, then the future society will be a failed state. The author has not fallen short in addressing this when he affirms that the minority young people should obtain education and training that would empower them, or else the American society risks being a poorer and less competitive society (Brownstein par.11). Racially segregated society denies equal opportunities to the segregated population. The damage will be felt in the future when these people are less productive and become highly dependent on the government.

The Atlantic article is also commendable for addressing an issue that would otherwise not addressed by many because of its sensitivity and ugly truth. The news media article acts as a mirror to the society by arguing its case that there is the elephant in the room. It indirectly passes the message to the government both at the federal and state level to review the issues at stake and work towards fixing them. It is prudent to note that the US is recognized as a multi-racial country with a mature democracy and functioning institutions that have transformed the country to be a global leader in many aspects. With this incredible status, the civil rights issue in question should be a thing of the past. The article should be commended for being assertive that there is unfinished business and the sooner the issue is addressed, the better for the future social and economic stability of the nation. School segregation still exists, and stakeholders should not bury their heads in the sand preempting the fact that the progress made earlier is regressing to the dark old days of inequality.

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?It is also vital to mention that this article is informative regarding legal and constitutional matters on civil rights in the US. The US has a rich history of civil rights movements and activities that have transformed the country’s democratic space and act as reference points for other governance systems in the world. The legal case in context was pivotal in influencing the 1950s and 1960s civil rights movements. The article, therefore, provides the reader with the historical references of the two major civil rights cases of 1896 and 1954 about the Plessy ruling and Brown ruling respectively. It shows how powerful Supreme Court rulings can influence constitutional change.

However, the article is not absolutely on point. An area worth critiquing is that the author failed to address the empirical evidence to support the claims or viewpoints made. The author relies only on secondary information from other sources which limits the article’s credibility or validity. There are some sensitive and critical points that the author has mentioned that require evidence. A statement like “before Brown, only one in 40 African-American earned a college degree” needs citation or evidence to the claim. Since the article is about an issue that has generated intense debate about the legality of this ruling many years ago, it should have done better by quoting empirical or factual evidence about the claims. Otherwise, it is an informative piece that is worth reading.

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“How Brown v. Board of Education Changed—and Didn't Change—American Education". (2019, Jun 10). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/how-brown-v-board-of-education-changed-and-didnt-change-american-education/