On May 17, 1954, Thurgood Marshall, Chief Counsel for the NAACP, successfully argued the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, before the U. S. Supreme Court. In it’s ruling, SCOTUS overturned the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which established the “Separate, but Equal” status in America’s Public Schools. The divided school systems, however, were anything, but “Equal”. Institutionalized-racism might a be better term! In 1967, Mr. Marshal was sworn-in, as an Associate Justice, on the U. S. Supreme Court.
Racism remains ever-present within our Public Schools today. Some is institutionalized, and some is political. Consider several of the more appalling varieties:
1. Since real estate taxes are a primary funding source of public schools, the “White Flight” of higher-income families to the wealthier suburbs, generally in separate counties and school systems, results in better-funded suburban schools, as compared to those in the Inner Cities (i. e. Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia).
2. Some states allow smaller “independent School Districts” to be formed in wealthier areas. Higher income families seek larger, more-luxurious housing, which leads to higher property taxes and, thus, to better-funded public schools. (Similar to #1 above.)
3. Politicians often create the atmosphere where newer, and better, schools are located in wealthier areas, with some minority students bused-in. Accordingly, these schools have better teachers, and newer equipment and facilities, as compared to public school schools in poorer parts of town.
4. Charter schools may be established separately from the public school system; however, they receive funding from it—thus reducing the local system’s financial resources. Charters are generally able to be more selective in the students they admit, but there is often little correlation between selectivity and performance. Prerequisites for the corporate organizers of Charters, as well as the administrators and teachers are often dubious, depending upon the particular state.
5. Vouchers transfer a portion of the per-student amount,received by the school system, from the state and local government, to private schools that accept them. Since private school tuition and fees are usually much more expensive than the voucher provides, poor families generally cannot afford the differential for their children to attend, especially if they hame several children in school. But, wealthy families get a freebie!
It is difficult to expect that Donald J. Trump, who has vowed throughout his campaign that he will use Charter Schools and Vouchers to “improve our Educational System”, will not nominate an Education Secretary who will not advocate for “School Choice”, as well as other forms of institutionalized racism. If Mr. Trump really did want to improve the American Educational System, he would nominate someone with actual education experience—rather than someone who ereportedly contributed $11 million to his campaign!
Betsy DeVos, who is Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary, is a member of the super-wealthy DeVos Family of Amway Fame. Mrs. DeVos is active in the National GOP, advocates for School Choice, and was one of the architects of the Detroit Charter Schools Program, which apparently has performed on a par with the City’s overall failed and underfunded Public School System.
Betsy DeVos is hardly a realistic solution for America’s Educational System!