Blog #4 for week 10: Whither school integration?
There has been an ongoing debate about whether it is best to have schools segregated or desegregated. The first major decision about this subject was with the case of Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954. This was about a little African American girl who wanted to go to a better, predominantly white school because she was not getting a proper education at her segregated school that was farther away. There are three main reasons that underprivileged students wanted to transfer to a predominantly white schools. Their school had little to no materials and what they did have was old or ruined. They had non-qualified or non-caring teachers and were taught in broken down buildings. These reasons along with race made the Supreme Court make an unanimous decision that racial segregation was not allowed in the public school system.
This court decision was a huge leap for the African American community, but there were still battles that the community needed to overcome. First of all, the predominantly white schools were not welcoming to the African American community which made it a difficult transition for them. Second, in 1967 the “majority-white middle-class public schools scored two years ahead on achievement tests, while students in inner-city school tended to be at least two years behind (Goldstein, 2014). Thirdly, teachers were not fond or good at educating poor non-white students that still affect students today.
We currently still encounter this problem as Nikole Hannah-Jones noted in her recent interview called “The Problem We All Live With,” she explains what has happened to two schools in Missouri. The first school, Normandy exhibited difficulty and was a low performing school which resulted in the decision/law that the students could choose to stay at their current school or they could be bused to a higher performing school that was 30 miles away to a school called Francis Howell. This was beneficial because this school was accredited by the state and had better materials, buildings, and teachers. On the other hand it was problematic because students had to wake up very early to get on the bus in order to be on school at time, but at the same time students were getting a better education with better amenities. This was a huge problem for the parents for Francis Howell just as it was for the parents in the 1960’s. Parents were concerned for the safety and educational well-being of their children. Parents from Francis Howell were afraid that if students came from Normandy it would jeopardized the school’s credentials or safety of their children (Glass & Hannah-Jones, 2015). Yet, when the two schools integrated together it ended up very beneficial for the Normandy students. For the most part, the students were integrating very well at Francis Howell, were getting a better education and their assessment test scores were improving.
So as we have learned over the years, integrating students is more valuable than desegregating students for any reason. We need to focus more on collaboration and integration with every student, not because of the law, but because it is morally right. It is helpful to have students on different levels to work together to improve their cognition. Also, I feel that it is vital for all students and schools to have the same opportunities. The local, state, and federal level needs to come up with a plan for everybody to have the same quality education in order for everybody to reach their full potential.
Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America’s most embattled profession. New York, NY: Doubleday.
The Problem We All Live With | This American Life. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with