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Apryle Young has seen the water dripping from the ceiling and the rats that hide in the walls at her children’s schools in Memphis, Tennessee.

There’s no air conditioning on hot days, and no heat on cold days. What’s more, there are not enough textbooks: Teachers have to make copies of the relevant pages. But when Young’s daughter has problems with her homework at night, she needs the whole textbook, not just a few pages.

On the eve of the 66th anniversary of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed school segregation and declared that separate schools are inherently unequal, schools in predominantly Black neighborhoods like Young’s have fewer resources, fewer counselors and experienced educators, and, overall, lack the level of educational opportunities found in schools in predominantly white neighborhoods.

As the nation observes the Brown decision on Sunday, May 17, schools are becoming more segregated, not less, experts say. What’s more, children of color are caught in the “school-to-prison pipeline” – the harsh cycle of policies, practices and procedures that, directly or indirectly, push children out of schools and into the criminal and immigrant justice systems – at much higher rates than white children.

“There’s still no equality in education,” said Young, a plaintiff in a lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center to keep public money in two Tennessee school districts instead of diverting the funds to unaccountable private schools. “To me, it’s still a form of segregation.”

The SPLC is pushing back against racial inequities in education across the South by fighting to keep public money in public schools, dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, and advocating for thriving public schools in every community.

“The Brown v. Board of Education decision is as critical today as it was 66 years ago when the Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional,” said Christine Bischoff, senior staff attorney for the SPLC’s Children’s Rights Practice Group. “School closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the country have laid bare inequities in education that persist today, as we see low-income children and children of color in particular struggle to access the resources they need – like computers and the internet – to continue their learning during this time.

“Some children are not receiving any special education services while schools are closed, and others struggle to access school meals during this unprecedented time,” she said. “As Brown affirmed 66 years ago – and it still holds true today – separate but equal is not equal. Each of us must continue to work every single day to fulfill the promise of Brown so that all children in our country have equal opportunities to attend and thrive in high-quality, diverse schools.”

After the Brown decision, many Southern states established publicly funded private school voucher schemes to get around court-ordered integration. Today, voucher programs persist across the South and continue to be an obstacle to equal opportunities for all children to learn.

In Tennessee, the SPLC and its partners recently won a big victory for parents and children in predominantly Black school districts when a judge struck down a voucher program that would have drained money from public schools and given it to private schools that are not legally bound by the civil rights protections required in public schools.

The victory highlighted the SPLC’s efforts to keep public money in public schools. The Public Funds Public Schools (PFPS) campaign, which launched last year, is a partnership of the SPLC, the SPLC Action Fund, the Education Law Center (ELC), and Munger, Tolles & Olson. PFPS works to ensure that public funds for education are dedicated to public schools, which serve the vast majority of students – including the majority of Black students – in our country.

The Racist Origins of Private School Vouchers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Last edited by sunnubian
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