Like any other nation, we have a history of sometimes enacting policies that don’t necessarily identify issues correctly, fix issues, or, in some cases, they even create unforeseen issues. In the historic decision on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the Supreme Court ruled that U.S. state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Oliver Brown and his wife, Leola Brown, did not feel that their daughter was getting an inferior education compared to her white counterparts; what they didn’t understand was why she had to walk nine blocks and take a bus to go to school when the neighborhood campus was four blocks from their home. They simply wanted some control over their lives. In contrast to their motives behind desegregation, the courts identified black schools as substandard to white schools. Chief Justice Earl Warren spoke on the decision stating (Links to an external site.), “segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to retard the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racially integrated school system.” During this time in history, many professions excluded educated back professionals, leading them to teach. Over 38,000 black educators in the South and border states lost their jobs after the ruling in 1954. Over a half-century later, black teachers make up a minuscule fraction of the teaching force, which has negatively impacted many black students (Lutz, 2017 (Links to an external site.)). Numerous people believe black teachers and administrators should have been integrated first, followed by the students. Not doing so caused black communities to lose their voice in education and what seems to be a permeate loss of role models and advocates for black students. Additionally, they feel it was unfair and counterproductive to make children, both black and white, bear the decision’s burden instead of the educators and administrators.
I know not everyone likes Malcolm Gladwell, but he has an excellent podcast (Links to an external site.) that really breaks down the history and creation of the policy, its application, and the repercussions.