October 3, 2016; New Yorker
When the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate schools could never be equal, it recognized the intrinsic value and importance of shared experiences that stand separate from academic achievement. Its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education struck down the legal framework that allowed two educational systems to operate concurrently in support of the larger framework of a segregated society. In its wake, courts across the nation pushed and prodded school systems to make the necessary changes to ensure that each child had the opportunity for a quality education in an integrated classroom.
The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott spotlighted race relations in Charlotte, North Carolina. Beyond the questions of whether or not this was a “good” police shooting, we can see how far we still have to go if, indeed, we still believe that separate but equal is not equal at all. Clint Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University writing in the New Yorker, looked at a school system that once was a model of successful integration but today looks as it did pre-Brown.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District relied heavily on busing to restructure its enrollment patterns to ensure all its schools were integrated. Not only were black and white students learning their lessons, they were also learning to live together as one community. Their success in creating an integrated, high-quality district m