Danielle Lippold: Separate means unequal

Segregation 1It has been 62 years since the Supreme Court ruled in Brown in Brown vs. The Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas, and overruled the “separate but equal clause,” making segregation in schools illegal.

Nonetheless, roughly six decades later, our schools are still plagued by class and racial segregation.

Rich people do not want to associate with the poor, and many poor neighborhoods are home to black Americans. As a result, high-income citizens move to better neighborhoods with better schools, and they leave their lower-income counterparts in the dust, which segregates schools by class and race.

A report called Unequal Schools says schools who teach low-income and minority students have bigger kindergarten classes and less experienced teachers because they do not have the economic resources.

Segregation 2In 1989, Elizabeth Sheff’s son was going to school at Annie Fisher Elementary in Hartford, Conn. She joined other families to begin a long and difficult journey to address inequity between education provided to students in Hartford and to children in nearby regions. This journey would become the court case Sheff v. O’Neill, and in 1996, the state Supreme Court ruled “racial and ethnic segregation has a pervasive and invidious impact on schools.” The court instructed the governor and state legislature to find a resolution.

Still, Connecticut is trying to make progress in the field of academic segregation with 84 magnet schools designed to bring children of all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds together. “It is the only state in the Northeast that is going in a positive direction,” an April report from UCLA’s Civil Rights Project found.


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