Segregation of Children in Public Schools

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Segregation can be described as the act of setting something or a group apart from another group or things. Segregation began to be a problem in America in the 1880s with Jim Crow segregation. This lead to many years of setbacks, court cases and laws intended to end segregation but continued without success. In the case of Brown v. Board of education, the Supreme Court’s objectives were to end the educational differences between whites and minorities as well as the detrimental mental effects on minorities because of segregation.

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While this practice of segregation did not end until the 1970’s, our country has fully desegregated schools to this day.

In the case of the Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court made many objective points about school segregation. One point was that the history of the fourteenth amendment is inconclusive in regards to its intended effect on the public education system. The fourteenth amendment states that “No state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction to the equal protection of the laws”. This 1868 amendment should have functioned not only to protect minorities in the educational system but also be a platform for future expansion to voting rights. The Brown v Board transcript speaks of the educational differences between whites and minorities of this time and touches on the fact that education for negro’s was not only non-existent but illegal in some states. Minorities were denied of the same educational qualifications and benefits that were provided for whites. This idea that inequality because of race still existed meant that the fourteenth amendment was inconclusive and minorities were denied equal protection of the law by this amendment. In the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson, this idea of “separate but equal” came about. This doctrine gave legal government protection of segregation in America and was later reversed by the Supreme Court in 1954 because segregation was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and Thurgood Marshall, the lawyer of the NAACP. He concluded that segregation violated the 14th amendment and this again points to the fact that the fourteenth amendment was inconclusive and the American government in the late 1890’s to the l950’s were trying to protect segregation in any way that they could.

Another point made by the Supreme Court was that “segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprives children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities , even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal”. This objective touched on the fact that although minorities were given equal opportunities educationally there was still a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The Supreme Court found that with segregation, minorities felt a sense of inferiority. This in turn affected the motivation of children to learn. The Supreme Court found that there was a tendency of the students to have a stunt in “educational and mental development” as well as denied minorities of the benefits that they would obtain in a racially integrated school system. There were not only superficial effects of segregation during the 1950’s but there was a deeper effect on the mentality of minorities which plays a role in today’s view on segregation.

Today’s view on segregation is described by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Nikole touches on this idea that segregation still exists today in the American public school system during her 2015 Keynote Address. She draws on the idea that minorities are still deprived of equal opportunities to this day, however I do not agree. I believe that the objectives of the Brown decision have been achieved sixty-five years later. After the case of Brown v. Board, schools began to desegregate and racist social structure was chipped away as the civil rights movement began. The Civil Rights Act of 1963 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned segregation in all public facilities and outlawed all racial discriminatory restrictions such as literacy tests. Nikole speaks on the idea that schools are considered segregated today because in African-American communities, schools are mainly African Americans and Latinos. I don’t believe that this is considered segregation because African Americans choose to live in those communities and the public schools are based on location. Nikole does not have any data that points to African Americans being denied from public schools that are mostly white. It is difficult to believe that racial segregation still exists today and to fathom that minorities are denied the same educational opportunities as whites. This is because in today’s society, there are educational opportunities such as scholarships and free education solely because of the fact that they are a minority. Nikole speaks of minorities being overlooked when it comes down to applying to jobs or college because of the apostrophes in their name, however, minorities are often chosen over a white candidate again because of the color of their skin.

Today, doll experiments are performed on children to see which race is considered superior with the use of colored baby dolls. To me, this shows the kind of information being put into the minds of small children by their parents. A young child has no idea what racism is. The effects of segregation did play a role in the mentality of minorities of those difficult times which reflects on the minds through generations and generations of minorities leading to today. Also, the education of minorities has been protected and successfully acted as a platform for expansion of voting rights.

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Segregation of Children in Public Schools. (2021, Apr 29). Retrieved from