Education: A call for action!
The Supreme Court just struck a major blow for K-12 districts to conduct voluntary school integration plans. The opinion can be summed up by Roberts when he wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Apparently, using race to bring people together is just as bad as using race to keep people apart. You can learn alot about how America by reading Supreme Court decisions. Nevertheless, the justices claim that they are not over turning Brown v. Board but that is essentially what happened. But this is less of a crisis than it is a call for action.
In the quest to get better educational resources for Black children, I think there are two broad strategies at our disposal. The first strategy used in Brown v. Board was that if predominantly white schools had better resources, then integration will allow Blacks to access these resources. This strategy was successful and legally brilliant. However, in the aftermath of Brown we noticed that many school districts took years to come up with policies to follow the spirit of Brown.
It should also be noted that in any case regarding race and schooling on any level, the program in question must be “narrowly tailored” and survive strict scrutiny. This narrow tailoring of race makes it so that any program to achieve racial diversity is so watered down; it ends up doing far less to help the people that it intended to help.
The other strategy is to destroy the system of unequal public education. This of course gets at (like it always has) school funding. One major source of inequality is our over-dependence on property taxes go to fund schools so that wealthier districts are able to support higher salaries, smaller class sizes, better books, etc. In the end, our inner-city schools suffer continuous disinvestment and any funding increases are snuffed out by provisions that allow suburban schools to fund their schools at higher levels.
It is my belief that if given the choice, Thurgood Marshall and others would have preferred to fight for quality schools for all children. This doesn’t mean they were wrong because at the time, it was a legally brilliant strategy. However it does mean that their work paved the way for us to get at the root of the problem. True progress is the culmination of smaller previous victories. It is time we stopped thinking that everything we wanted was achieved during the Civil Rights Movement.
And for all of us passionate about really reforming public education, I am convinced that the calling of our generation is to craft a political/legal/social strategy to destroy our unequal public school system once and for all. How we do this, I don’t know; that is why I want to go to law school but together, we are too smart and too capable to not mount a massive front to finish the dream of quality education. Are you with me?
Stay up fam,