by Rachel M. Kleinman, Assistant Counsel, Education Group, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
*May 17 is the 60th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court opinion, Brown v. Board of Education. This post is part of an ACSblog symposium noting the landmark decision and exploring the ongoing inequalities in our society.
This week we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education and its promise and vision of equality. While there is indeed much to celebrate, both in the principles of Brown itself and its now six decade legacy, the fight for equal access to quality education in this country is still being waged on many fronts. At the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund (LDF), we are commemorating this landmark decision by looking back at our history and by doubling down on our current efforts to use law and advocacy to fulfill the promises of Brown.
While Brown marked the beginning of the end of a legally-sanctioned, racially segregated, dual system of education, we have a long way to go to reach a day when all students have equal access to a quality education. Our country’s history of discrimination, along with deeply entrenched residential segregation, has left us with racially-identifiable schools that do not enjoy equality of resources. We still fight to ensure that all children have access to early childhood education, to adequate school facilities, to safe schools with positive climates, to certified teachers and to rigorous and inspiring courses of study. We also fight to keep our black and brown students free from the myriad policies, including overly harsh and damaging discipline practices, which conspire to push them out of schools and into the criminal justice system.