An unintended consequence of Brown v. Board of Education

Madeline Will of Education Week has a fascinating story about the dismissal and resignation of black educators after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Will writes,

Sixty-five years ago this week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional.

That decision for the first time afforded black children access to the same educational opportunities as white children. Although many schools remain de facto racially segregated today, the decision is still heralded as one of the country’s most significant milestones for civil rights.

But Brown also had an unintended consequence, the effects of which are still felt today: It caused the dismissal, demotion, or forced resignation of many experienced, highly credentialed black educators who staffed black-only schools. After the decision, tens of thousands of black teachers and principals lost their jobs as white superintendents began to integrate schools but balked at putting black educators in positions of authority over white teachers or students.

As she points out, “A growing body of research has found that black students benefit from having a black teacher, both academically and socially.”  But the demand for black teachers far outpaces supply, and some believe that Brown is one of the reasons why.

Update: Chris Stewart offers some thoughts about Brown at The 74.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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