America’s Broken Education System in 2016 — Documentary America’s
America’s Broken Education System in 2016 —Everything in American education is broken. Or so say the policy elites, from the online learning pioneer Sal Khan to the journalist-turned-reformer Campbell Brown. [show_more more=”show more” less=”show less”] As leaders of the XQ project succinctly put it, we need to “scrap the blueprint and revolutionize this dangerously broken system.”
In the social sciences, education is recognized as playing a central role in maintaining and reproducing modern systems of inequality. Hierarchies of race, class, and gender are understood to be reflected in both the content of educational offerings and in the context in which schooling is provided. As such, attempts to address patterns of social inequality have focused on improving educational access conditions for various populations. In the case of the twentieth-century United States, efforts to equalize access to schooling along lines of race and class have drawn heavily upon the insights of American social scientists, while responding to the demands of both liberal and conservative political constituencies.
Despite residing in communities where they often represented significant parts of the population, blacks and other racialized minorities often possessed little or no ability to control their educational destinies—not in choice of curricula, the hiring and firing of teachers, nor the availability of school facilities or the length of the school term. Long practiced by custom in many localities and written into state constitutions in the decades following the American Civil War, racial segregation in schools was given legal mandate in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), out of which came the doctrine “separate but equal,” which allowed states effectively to access to educational resources on the basis of race as long as those provided to each racial group were equal.
After some sixty years of state-mandated racial segregation in education, during which blacks and other
minority populations lagged behind whites on most indicators of educational progress, the U.S. Supreme Court, heavily influenced by the findings of social scientists, decided unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) that the practice of segregated schooling was not only unconstitutional but also inherently damaging to children, with dire effects for society as a whole. [/show_more]