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65 years ago today, the nation’s highest court issued a radical decision when it unanimously struck down legal apartheid in American schools, overturning its own precedent and the century’s long American way of life that deemed black people as untouchable, a caste apart.
It is considered one of the most important rulings in the history of the Court. However, today, millions of black children remain in segregated, high-poverty schools. Yet not even the most liberal Democratic candidate has put forth a policy to integrate our schools.
This is despite the fact that integrated schools are one of the most important drivers of upward mobility for black children — and therefore, for AMerica as a whole, raising achievement, driving down poverty and crime and breaking caste. washingtonpost.com/education/2019…
Five years ago, I wrote my first big investigation into school resegregation and how we made the intentional decision to maintain racial caste for black children. And I decided at that point that I would make school segregation my beat.
When I published this piece five years ago, I issued a challenge to education reporters that if they were not covering segregation, they were not doing their jobs. Education reporters have risen to the occasion. Politicians and community members have not. propublica.org/article/segreg…
In some ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I published this piece. Much has changed. But so much has remained the same. Since then I have reported on segregation across the country. In Missouri. thisamericanlife.org/562/the-proble…
And right here in NYC and in my own child’s school. nytimes.com/2016/06/12/mag…
65 years. Generations of broken promises. Today, we can still predict the quality of ed & the amount of resources a school will receive by the color of the skin of the children inside. Kids in Detroit sitting in buildings contaminated by lead,in Baltimore w schools with no heat.
While politicians avoid talking about integration even as they talk of racial justice, or even defend efforts to work with segregationists to derail integration, there are children sitting in classrooms who are being robbed of the opportunity to change their lives.
Today, I think of those parents willing to put their children on the line, to walk them through angry white mobs, to put them in classrooms where they were bullied and teased, who risked their jobs and safety, in order to ensure all black children got their constitutional rights.
And I ask: What are we willing to do now for the grandchildren of Brown v Board?
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