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Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education: A Two-Tiered Education System


"As we mark the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, millions of low income students and children of color are concentrated in separate and unequal schools. Many are being taught by unqualified teachers, with insufficient instructional materials and a limited supply of textbooks and inadequate technology, in crumbling buildings - with vermin and broken bathrooms. These substandard teaching and learning conditions are rarely found in schools where the majority of students come from more affluent backgrounds and have a low risk of school failure. We have a two-tiered education system.

It is unacceptable to hold students accountable for meeting high standards that their schools are not equipped to help them reach. As a nation we say that our goal is to leave no child behind, but the schools we provide for some children say otherwise. Students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds constitute an emerging majority in this country -- the future health of our economy hinges on the knowledge and skills they will acquire in the schools we provide for them today. But the deck is too often stacked against low income students and children of color -- conditions in their schools are just not adequate to support quality teaching and learning."