In high school and college, I learned about important events of adversity that were overcome and significant changes which were made. Many times though, the relation which these events have towards American education can easily be overlooked. My personal knowledge of American education goes back as far as the civil rights movements, any events that occurred prior to that I have either forgotten or never studied. I definitely realize that not only our society but our education system has come a long way since the times of segregation and racism. One event I remember that had a huge impact on American education was Brown vs. Board of Education. This was especially important because it deemed segregated schools to be unconstitutional. This ruling was instrumental for schools to become integrated. When we think of the Civil Rights movement we think of equal rights for all, but we can sometimes miss the additional importance it had on our education system. The changes that occurred because of the movement are still seen in the schools today.
Another important event of the rights movement was the Coleman Report in 1966 by Professor James Coleman. This report was instrumental in showing the importance of educational equality. Coleman’s report indicated that student’s background and socioeconomic status was more important than school resources in determining educational outcomes. The report found that black schools were usually funded equally, but that black students benefited much more from racially mixed classrooms. The research also stated that socially disadvantaged students benefited more from mixed classes. Both the Coleman Report and Brown vs. Education were influential for the integration of classrooms.
I do not recall much more about past American education, as most of my knowledge and personal experience involve more recent events. More recently is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 which required annual standardized tests and aided disadvantaged students. Title 1 of the act focuses on the improvement of academic success for the disadvantaged. For example, schools not meeting the standards would be required to improve the school –missing the adequate yearly process for a third straight year requires schools to provide free tutoring for struggling students. This act has provided opportunities for every student to become successful in the classroom. I have not seen or been a part of the issues facing the disadvantaged in my personal experience. I was a part of a challenge/highly capable program in elementary and went to a private school in junior high and high school. I have had a privileged educational upbringing and because of this, I was naive at times of how important these events have impacted American education.