Coming Full Circle: The Journey from Separate but Equal to Separate and Unequal Schools
2 Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy 1 (2007)
92 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2008 Last revised: 29 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 29, 2007
In this article Professor Garda explains how the separate but equal doctrine rejected in Brown became the guiding principle in modern education reform. He tracks the evolution of education reform from integration to finance reform to the standards based accountability and freedom of choice reforms embraced in the No Child Left Behind Act to explain why racially separate schools are no longer considered inherently unequal. The desegregation movement's failure to remedy the de facto school segregation resulting from private residential choice dovetailed with school finance reform to make separate schools socially acceptable, so long as the schools were equitably funded and the racial isolation was not state sanctioned. The political and legal blunting of school finance equity claims then coincided with the rise of educational adequacy claims, standards based accountability and school choice further encouraging racial separation by promising meaningful equality through educational outcome parity and the liberty inherent in school choice. Professor Garda explains why these reforms resulted in extreme racial and socioeconomic isolation of poor and minority students in the worst schools today and why integration is not considered the solution despite its tested benefits. By aligning the evolution of past reforms with the current state of education and society's refusal to pursue racial and socioeconomic integration, he why the schools of our future will remain separate and unequal.
Keywords: school finance litigation, accountability, integration, school choice, vouchers, charter schools, No Child Left Behind
JEL Classification: I2, I20, I22, I28, H52, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation