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Learning for Justice helps connect ‘Brown’ decision to education justice today

Seventy years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The 1954 decision struck down the notion of “separate but equal” within public education. It declared that school segregation violated the 14th Amendment, which provides equal protection under the country’s laws.

Yet lessons about Brown too often focus on the inspirational while failing to address the complexities of the Civil Rights Movement, the opposition to desegregation and the intense pushback to equality that we face today. The simple, inspirational story fails to recognize the persistent efforts to derail Brown’s efficacy, such as the explosion of private “whites only” schools in its wake, attempts to slash public education spending or siphon those tax dollars – and students – to private schools with vouchers.

Learning for Justice’s article and toolkit, Connecting the “Brown” Decision to Today’s Social Justice Movement, provides a resource for effectively exploring the decision, its impact on schooling for Black and Brown children and its relevance today. Perhaps, most importantly, it encourages us to “resist telling the simple story” of Brown. Read the article here.

In a photo from August 1958, Thurgood Marshall, then chief legal counsel for the NAACP, sits on the U.S. Supreme Court steps with students from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, after appealing a court order to delay integration at their school. (Credit: Associated Press)