The Segregation Of Black Schools Essay

The Segregation Of Black Schools Essay

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In any large metropolitan area, there exists an obvious ranking of schools. Before 1954, this hierarchy was based solely on race; white schools received the majority of resources, and black schools were given the leftovers. Today in the post-segregation era, many believe that school rankings come from theoretically colorblind factors such as the quality of teachers and family commitment to education. Yet the publicly-available school data, along with real-world observations, reveals that predominately black schools still struggle. Thinking of “integration as an end in itself” (Ogletree, 2004) discounts the work that must come after the removal of physical barriers to educational opportunity. Overcoming centuries of inequality requires dedicated time and resources; simply declaring segregation as over does little to fix the root issues. In the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education, the lessening inequality between predominately black and predominately white schools must not be interpreted as an achievement of complete equal opportunity. Evidenced in our visits to Pearl-Cohn and Hume-Fogg high schools, there is danger in proclaiming success prematurely; the vastly different school environments and outcome statistics illustrate that race still influences educational results.
Hume-Fogg and Pearl-Cohn high schools differ drastically in terms of their definitions of success, as a function of the distinctive student bodies that they serve. At Hume-Fogg, a predominately white school, every student is expected to attend and graduate from college, a non-negotiable fact that one student even pointed out as the singular weakness of the school (Hume-Fogg student, observation, September 20, 2016). The principal did mention high school gradu...

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...t career opportunities. It is no coincidence that the racial makeup of these schools corresponds with their outcomes. The desegregation that activists fought for in the post-Brown era has evolved into “resegregation of our schools and our communities in the twenty-first century” (Ogletree, 2004). In a city as racially diverse as Nashville, the color lines along which schools presently operate are shocking. While outcomes have vastly improved for black students, settling for success only in an alternative path is not the hallmark of complete equitability. Schools like Pearl-Cohn add immense value to the diversity of secondary school opportunities, but they should be seen as an equal option, not a last resort. Until every black student can succeed at a school like Hume-Fogg, if they so choose, race will continue to unfairly impact the education of the next generation.

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