Desegregation and the Struggle for Equal Schooling: Rolling the Rock of Sisyphus

OUR PROMISE: ACHIEVING EDUCATIONAL EQUALITY FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN, pp. 3 - 24, Maurice R. Dyson & Daniel B. Weddle, eds., Carolina Academic Press, 2009

ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 10-02

31 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010 Last revised: 27 Apr 2010

Date Written: January 1, 2009

Abstract

Economic integration and citizen equality have been core ideals of American public schooling since its founding. The egalitarian ideals of free schooling, however, have never matched public school reality. Closing the gap between the idealistic rhetoric and the discriminatory reality of public schooling has been the target of school reform for decades and a major goal of the Civil Rights movement. This chapter recounts the effort to achieve equal educational opportunity for African Americans through school desegregation. Beginning with 19th century cases and continuing through Brown v. Board of Education to Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, this chapter provides an overview of the litigation and court decisions dealing with school segregation and desegregation, and creates a picture of advancement toward and retrenchment from the goals of equal educational opportunity. It compares school reformers to Sisyphus, struggling mightily to push schools toward the ideals of equal opportunity and equal access, only to see progress roll back, time and again.

Keywords: Civil rights, US School Desegregation, US Constitution, Equal Protection

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Molly Townes, Desegregation and the Struggle for Equal Schooling: Rolling the Rock of Sisyphus (January 1, 2009). OUR PROMISE: ACHIEVING EDUCATIONAL EQUALITY FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN, pp. 3 - 24, Maurice R. Dyson & Daniel B. Weddle, eds., Carolina Academic Press, 2009, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 10-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1544033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1544033

Molly Townes O'Brien (Contact Author)

ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Territory 0200
Australia
02-6125-0437 (Phone)

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