The Story of American Public Education, A Struggle for Educational Equality 1950-1980

In Public Broadcast Station’s (PBS) episode “The Story of American Public Education, A Struggle for Educational Equality 1950-1980,” I had the opportunity to learn how public schools in the United States functioned from 1950 to 1980. The documentary talked about the issues concerning segregations that were happening between blacks, whites and other minority groups. This documentary aligned with HOPE standard H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. The standard can be classified as preparing students for the outside world. According to the documentary, having segregated schools had a negative impact on the schools attended by the blacks. They were taught with text books that were four to five years behind than those books used by the schools the whites attended. It placed the black kids in a bar lower than those of the white kids in the society.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) played a great role in starting the movement to desegregate schools. They started the Brown versus the Board of Education case which argues schools should be desegregated. The case reached the Supreme Court and helped more than just the Browns. It gave other minority children opportunities to be in a setting they can learn essential skills to succeed in the society. It took many educational reforms led by activists, parents, and students themselves from 1950s to 1970s to open the schools to everyone. When the decision was reached, the court finally stated, “It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity is a right which must be available to all on equal terms. Separate facilities are inherently unequal.”  Schools were desegregated at last and blacks and other minority groups’ children were able to attend schools with whites.

It is important for kids to be engaged in settings that can help them succeed outside of school. Having the opportunity to attend school with kids that are different from them will help them learn how to interact with other races. As educators, we must make sure that the school is providing adequate tools (text books, classes, etc.) that will enhance the student learning to a level that will help them in the outside world. Education is an evolutionary, as educators, we must learn to change with it and adapt to these changes.

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