Article Title

An Evaluation of Past and Current Legal Approaches to Vindication of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Guarantee of Equal Educational Opportunity

Publication Title

Washington University Law Quarterly


Due to the correlation between education and democratic institutions, the right to equal educational opportunities is, in truth, “a fundamental political right, because preservative of all rights.” Yet, it is distressingly evident that the nation’s public school system is not providing a large percentage of blacks with even rudimentary skills in reading, writing and arithmetic. Many persons in the black community view the public school failure to provide its youth with the necessary educational tools for upward social and economic mobility as an aspect of the conscious and callous suppression to which blacks are subjected by the white majority in this supposedly free and democratic society. This widely held conviction helps feed the flames of black discontent and disaffection and increases black distrust of white institutions and individuals-all of which, of course, furthers black-white polarization. Blacks are losing faith in the efficacy of the law as well, since, according to the law, they are entitled to the very educational opportunities and advantages they seek and have thus far been unable to obtain. Although firmly established under law that educational inequality is prohibited, the law has been violated, evaded, or frustrated with virtual impunity, and now evasions and violations seem to have the support of the highest offices in government.