Brown v. Board is 63 years old. Was the Supreme Court’s school desegregation ruling a failure?
The historic Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education turns 63 years old on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. The decision famously ordered the desegregation of public schools in the United States, declaring segregated schools “inherently unequal” and unconstitutional, but all these years later, segregation is far from being eliminated.
In fact, 2016 federal data showed that poor, black and Hispanic children are becoming increasingly isolated from white, affluent children in America’s public schools. Given that, how should Brown v. Board be evaluated? Given persistent school segregation, was it a failure? This post addresses that question.
It was written by Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit created in 1986 to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers. He is also a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and he is the author of books including “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right, and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap.” His newest book, published this month, is “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.” He was a national education writer for The New York Times as well.
By Richard Rothstein
Sixty-three years ago on Wednesday, the Supreme Court prohibited school segregation. In the South, Brown v. Board of Education was enforced slowly and fitfully for two decades; then progress ground to a halt. Nationwide, black students are now less likely to attend schools with whites than they were half a century ago. Was Brown a failure?