Brown v. Board at 60

Posted by on April 28, 2014

60 years after Brown

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute finds that school segregation remains a central feature of American public education 60 years after Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. Initial school integration gains have stalled, and low-income black children are more racially and socioeconomically isolated today than at any time since 1980. Though black student academic achievement has improved dramatically in recent decades, nationwide and in every state, racial achievement gaps remain huge. Per-pupil spending on black and white students is now roughly equal, but resource equality is not enough, since disadvantaged students require far greater resources to prepare them for school. This includes high-quality early childhood programs; high-quality after-school and summer programs; full-service school health clinics; more skilled teachers; and smaller classes. The typical black student now attends a school where only 29 percent of his or her fellow students are white, down from a high of 36 percent in 1980. And though black fourth-graders now have average math scores that are better than average white math scores only a generation ago, because average white achievement has also improved, the gap between black and white achievement remains. The average black student now performs better than only about 25 percent of white students, preventing equal labor market prospects.

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