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The 20th century saw the American education system faced with the issue of segregation, resulting in many students being denied the chance to attend schools of their choice on the basis of their race. During this time, schools adopted structured curricula that were not student-centered.
With time, however, the American education system underwent a major transformation process. Today, the American educational curricula are not only student-centered, but also inclusive. In addition, different policies have also been passed in support of an inclusive education system. The passing of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) 2001 is also part of the educational reforms that were envisaged in the American education system. The policy was part of educational initiatives aimed at promoting education in the United States.
The campaign has given all students equal educational opportunities regardless of their socio-cultural, economic, or racial backgrounds. However, high cost of education and income discrepancies among the Americans of diverse socio-economic backgrounds have been the major setbacks in ensuring that education for all is realized. The current research paper examines the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case as a major turning point for the education system in the U.S.
The objective of the research paper is to develop a vision of education for the future based on past educational theories, trends and practices. The premise of the study is that school and educational systems have been undergoing progressive transformation.
Analysis and discussion
The decision made by the Supreme Court as regard the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case is of importance to the American educational system. In addition, it also challenged the Plessy v. Ferguson, bringing to end segregation in the school system (Miller, 2004).
Previously, separate schools were set for Whites and Blacks (Cozzens, 1998). To encourage equality in school facilities (libraries and offices) and equal pay, civil rights activists and other human rights groups in America fought endlessly for change. In other words, the struggle for education for all started a long time ago and was part of civil rights movement in the U.S.
In the case Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools posed a detrimental effect on colored students (Miller, 2004). In addition, Black students were denied an equal chance to benefit from the same educational system as their White counterparts. Consequently, Black students developed an inferiority complex, thereby affecting their learning capabilities (Cozzen, 1998).
The ruling further stated that segregation in schools had the capacity to retard the mental and educational development of Black students (Miller, 2004). This is because it was thought to deprive the students some of major benefits enjoyed in racially integrated schools. As such, there was need to implement an integrated school system. Following this ruling, students from minority races could now be admitted to public schools hitherto regarded as a preserve for the Whites.
Many people credited and applauded the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Brown case for the change it brought to the education system. Others saw the decision as a turning point for the schools admission system (Miller, 2004). For instance, minority students who had been denied places on White public schools could easily get admitted.
In addition, the Supreme Court ruling made the Plessy v. Ferguson interpretation and ruling invalid. The case allowed for the protection of Minorities as required in the Fourteenth Amendment on Equal Protection Clause. This meant that Black students could be admitted in schools which were previously the preserve of White students.
The ruling by the Supreme Court on this case was a major milestone in the U.S. education systems as schools became disintegrated allowing students of mixed races to attend same learning institutions. However, despite the recommendation to integrate minority students with white students, there still lacked a framework which specified an implementation plan for the proposed changes (Cozzens, 1998). However, this was a historical step towards full disintegration of public schools (Cozzens, 1998).
Drawing from the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case, it is important to note that full disintegration of public schools was a progressive act in the education system. According to Kremer (2005), progressive education was initiated in the 20th century as part of educational reforms in public schools.
Furthermore, it was a philosophy that focused on how students should be taught in schools. It was “a response to the traditional way of teaching kids, which was very structured, dry, and authoritarian” (Kremer, 2004, p.32-33). As a result, progressive education focused on the adoption of humanistic values and democratic behaviors, as opposed to the traditional authoritative strategy.
Progressivism as an educational theory is based on the premise that schools should be child centered. The progressive model of education has been described as “new education” which advocates for the combination of education and actual experience (Kumar, 2004). The underlying philosophy in progressive model of education has been to change how schools teach students.
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The education system has undergone tremendous transformation through the adoption of the progressivism philosophy as progressive educators have helped students reach conscientization. According to Kumar (2004), conscientization involves the breaking of prevailing mythologies in education to create new degrees of awareness, especially awareness of oppression. In other words, the progressive model focuses on continuity in the education system.
Just like in the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case ruling, progressivism called for constant change in school system rather than being static. Currently, the education system has adopted the K-12 education system in public schools which encourages compulsory education for all. Moreover, there is an emerging trend in the schools system in regard to how students learn and how schools teach (Wilen-Daugenti & McKee, 2008).
For example, compared to the 20th century, the current education process has now evolved into collaborative learning. Different stakeholders have come on board to transform the education system through research and students placements. The emerging trends are a sign that segregation in school system has continued to decline even as the number of minorities continues to increase (Stevenson, 2010).
The U.S education system requires visionary leaders who can implement policies which allow for continuity in the system. My vision of the purpose and structure of schools in the future entails embracing a progressive model which is student-centered. In other words, schools should adopt a curriculum which embraces both education and actual experience.
Although the current K-12 education system faces some challenges, the incorporation of NCLB has led to improvement in the education system. Nonetheless, a visionary curriculum which embraces the global changes to make our students excel academically, gain the necessary skills and knowledge which would make them competitive at international markets is necessary.
The future structure of schools has to adopt curricula and policies that allow for change, fosters the need for collaboration in different sectors, and integrates different learning styles and approaches.
As advocated for by the progressive model of education, the structure should be accommodating to all students, including those who are physically challenged. In other words, education systems have to be more accommodative and progressive in order to give room for new changes and ideas. They should not rely on structured and authoritarian curriculum.
The education and schools systems continue to undergo transformation. The decision of the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case was a major turning point in the schools systems as it encouraged disintegration of public schools. In addition, a progressive model of education has played a major role in schools and education system as it allows child centered form of education. As part of transformation in education, progressivism philosophy focuses on education and experience.
The model tries to do away with traditional ways of teaching and instead adopt new trend in the education system. Such new trends in the education system have shown progressivism philosophy and what the plaintiffs fought for in the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case.
School systems have changed and minority students are no longer denied the chance to join public schools. My vision of the education purpose and structure of schools in the future should be based on the progressive model and education offered should be continuous and not static.
Cozzens, L. (1998). Brown v. Board of Education. Web.
Kremer, R. (2005). Progressive education: One parents journey. Education/Ideology, 6(1), 32-42.
Kumar, A. (2004). Philosophical trends, theories of educational intervention and adult learning. Web.
Miller, J. (2004). Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka: Challenging school segregation in the Supreme Court. New York, NY: PowerKids Press.
Stevenson, K. R. (2010). Educational trends shaping school planning, design, construction, funding and operations. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Building Sciences.
Wilen-Daugenti, T., & McKee, A. G. R. (2008). 21st century trends for higher education: Top trends, 2008–2009. California: Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group.