In Brown V Board of Education

It’s been 60 years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown V Board of Education and a new study just released indicates our schools are more segregated now than they were then. That seems strange given all the things that have been accomplished in between then and now. But maybe not.

There has been a big push to defund public schools and more and more religious schools have sprung up and then there is home schooling. Public schools are funded mostly by property taxes and therein lies a problem. Property tax districts in most states are not equal and most inner city schools receive an unequal amount of tax dollars. Which has given rise to more segregated schools. We are the melting pot of the world and yet we still tend to gather together in groups of twos not by species as were gathered in Noah’s Ark but more by economic status these days than by actual skin color.

Skin color does still play a part in the defacto segregation of schools though, because of the inequality that has pervaded our nation minorities still tend to be on the lower end of the economic scale and therefore their children are relegated to the schools that receive their public funding from areas with a lower property tax value thereby causing economic segregation.

Economic segregation plays right into the hands of southern conservatives who are still chaffing at having been forced to comply with Brown V Board of Education and integrate their schools. They often use it as a tool to keep schools effectively segregated.

We continually hear conservatives railing about our failing public schools and clamoring to go to voucher systems and charter schools neither which have a very good track record where they have been tried. I’m no scholar nor am I an expert on education but it is my belief based on what I hear, see, know and what I experienced as child going from one school system to another across the southwest from large inner city schools to small rural schools.

We should let teachers teach and quit messing with them. We should let children get a back to being children and learning. Instead we keep trying to make our children into superstars partly because we love them and partly because we want them to live out our dreams that maybe didn’t quite come to fruition. We should fund all public schools equally and give teachers the tools they need to teach. We need to focus on the basics and we need programs in our schools that teach a good balance of the basics with a good mix of electives that will give our kids a well-rounded education.

After school activities have a place in a well-rounded education but we place too much emphasis on sports and other fun things. Sports has a place in our society too but we often place too much emphasis on sports and give our high school heroes too much leeway in being more than they need to be in terms of just being a student.

We should pay our teachers a salary commiserate with their training and knowledge after all without teachers no other profession could exist. We need to quit treating them as second class citizens. Teachers are the ones who protect and make our future and the future of our nation is in what they can do to mold our children to be equipped to face the challenges of the world to come. Making them out to be less than they are is a very stupid way to create the kind of society whereby our nation and its citizens can compete with the rest of the world.

We need public schools that work for all of our society. Segregating our children for any reason isn’t a very smart thing to do. They can’t learn the skills they need to make it in the real world if they aren’t allowed to know that there is a real world out there. When we deny them the interaction with kids of all economic and ethic backgrounds we fail them. The world is not perfect and the people in it are not perfect but we can’t hide our children from the realities of how the world is and expect them to be able to deal with the world by themselves.

Education is knowledge. Knowledge is enlightenment. Enlightenment allows one to understand how others see the same world they do and gives one a perspective they cannot get by keeping themselves locked into a closed segregated society. Our kids need to be educated and enlightened not cloned.

Bob Bearden


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