COMMEMORATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION
HON. JUDY BIGGERT OF ILLINOIS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Monday, May 17, 2004
Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Brown versus the Board of Education. Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled the doctrine of "separate but equal" unconstitutional, and the doors of education were opened to every child.
Sadly, although schools were open to every child, a tremendous learning gap opened up. Some students received a great education, while others-largely poor and minority-slipped through the cracks of the system. The achievement gap between African-American and Caucasian fourth-graders is 28 percentage points, and 29 points between Hispanic and Caucasian students.
This is not equal access to education.
The No Child Left Behind Act continues Brown's legacy. Under NCLB, every child, regardless of race or national origin, is given the same opportunity to learn. Schools are required to ensure that every child is learning. No longer can students shuffle through the system without learning. We are already seeing positive results. According to a 2004 study by the Council of Great City Schools, the achievement gap is narrowing between minority and Caucasian students in both reading and math. These results are due, in large part, to NCLB.
The No Child Left Behind Act is the second step of Brown. The ruling in Brown may have given students equal access to the classroom, but NCLB ensures that they are given equal access to an education in that classroom.