The federal educational policy has been very concerned about improving opportunities for students from all cultures. The United States is a melting pot and immigration numbers have been increasing in recent years.
The preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal.”
Schools and teachers want to give to the students an equal opportunity to learn. Teachers need to address the history of equal opportunity in education and how did students come to receive the opportunities.
The history of equal opportunity in education started when the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that the doctrine of “separate but equal had not place.”
Therefore, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education marked a turning point in the history of equal opportunity. As African Americans and other minority groups began the struggle for civil rights, they claimed equal opportunities for their children in schools. Parents’ demands for better schools became an important part of the larger struggle for civil rights. Therefore, African American turned to the courts to demand for better educational opportunities for their children. Michael A. Rebell, an executive director of the campaign for Educational Equity and a teacher at Columbia University (New York, N.Y), remarked that the “civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s revived the common school ideals and for the first time sought to extend educational opportunity to all children regardless of race.” The federal educational policy wants to overcome the deficiencies associated with educational and socioeconomic disadvantages and the educational system wants to offer program that compensate low income families.
Consequently, President Johnson’s Great Society education program has passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965. Title 1 of that act was perceived as an important weapon in the War on Poverty. Title 1 is one of the nation’s oldest and largest federal programs supporting elementary and secondary education. Moneys known as Title 1 are distributed to those school districts supporting a low income population. Title 1, Part A, of NCLB provides assistance to enable children in low-socioeconomic level schools to meet state academic content and performance standards.
Michael Rebell declared that by the “end of fourth grade, African American and Latino students-indeed, poor students of all races-are two years behind their wealthier, predominantly white peers in reading and math. By eight grade, they have slipped three years behind, and by 12th grade, the gap is a full four years.” Therefore, money known as Title 1 are distributed to those school districts supporting a low-income population. The money is spent on school lunch programs, bilingual programs, dropout prevention programs, and after-school programs. The purpose of this title is indeed to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach all the state academic assessment.
In the whole, Brown explicitly stated that segregation in public schools was against the law. Therefore, we have witnessed the creation of the Secondary Education Act (ESEA), designed to facilitate the dismantling of segregated schools systems. According to Michael Rebell, this law was grounded in “the principles of Brown and a centerpiece of President Johnson’s “war on poverty.” The ESEA was enacted to expand educational opportunities for poor children.
Webb, L.D., Metha, A. & Jordan K.F. (2010). Foundations of American education (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson
Rebell, M. A. Equal Opportunity and the Courts Equal Opportunity and the Courts.
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Simmons, L. The Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.The Constitution Community: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present). Retrieved on 15 October, 2009