Segregation in Schools

Topics: Racial segregation, High school, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (1888 words) Published: April 18, 2005
One of the biggest issues that urban and suburban school systems face today is the slow reappearance of segregated schools. The main problem with segregated schools is that, as a trend, urban schools tend to be on a substandard level as compared to most suburban schools. This may be due to their lack of money and how the money each school has is used. Urban schools do not have as many opportunities as suburban schools, like the use of new technologies, or going outside to play, or going on fieldtrips, due to the lack of money/resources and safety issues. Students that attend and graduate from suburban schools have more options than those attending and hoping to graduate from an inner city school. Dropping out of school is a greater issue in an inner city school than it is in a suburban school. Some urban students are able to be bused to suburban public schools, or leave the public school system to attend an independent or parochial school. However, for the majority of students, the option of being bused to a better school does not exist, nor do the resources to attend suburban public, independent, or parochial schools. It seems that the public school system is having the same problems that manifested themselves decades ago. We are slowly, but surely, returning to segregated schools where the better schools and the better educational opportunities are in suburbia, and the better schools are being attended by mainly white students while urban schools are being attended by minority students. But what can the school system as a whole do to prevent complete resegregation?

Fifty years ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Earl Warren read the decision of the unanimous court:

"We come then to the questions presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other 'tangible' factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal education opportunities? We believe that it does... We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and other similarly situation for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment" (Cozzens, 1998).

As this ruling began to be put into effect, school administrators and school boards realized that they faced what could be a considerable problem. Many were opposed to integration and desegregation of schools and violence was a big issue. Even in the midst of all the controversy, some school districts readily desegregated their schools. However, there were many that were still very opposed to this idea. The governor of Arkansas had the National Guard surrounding Little Rock Central High School, while proclaiming that Central High School was off limits and that if the nine students were to attempt to enter the school, blood would run the streets (Cozzens, 1998). President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock so that the nine students would be able to safely complete their first day of school. In addition, they had a bodyguard that protected them as they moved from class to class.

A decade later, however, school desegregation was still far from what it was supposed to be. As Edelman (1974) noted, the Supreme Court stated in 1964 that delays in desegregating school systems were no longer tolerable; however, the Supreme Court did not really give school districts and administrators an idea of what exactly desegregating their school systems entailed.

Busing had a major impact on segregation in the south of the United States. In 1972, about thirty-six percent of black students attended majority white schools. But the small steps toward integration that had been taken in schools were soon to be challenged. Supreme Court ruling in the...
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