The Supreme Court's ruling in Brown mandating equal and quality education for students regardless of their race has long been forgotten or ignored by state legislators who refuse to provide adequate funding for public schools. Since the Brown decision, all States have ended the legal mandate to educate African-American and white students separately. Nevertheless, a majority of schools remain severely under-funded and segregated, with African-American males further segregated within these schools. George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama's infamous statement, segregation now, segregation forever, correctly describes the current status of public schools in America. Thus, African-American students, African-American males in particular, are systematically denied educational opportunities.
There is no one solution to enhancing educational opportunities for African-American males. There must be holistic solutions developed at the national, state and local levels of government. As the *34 Brown decision has taught us, there must not be total reliance on the legal system to cure this problem. The African-American community should explore how to change and expand the culture of African-American males by partnering with school administrators to develop plans which devalue sports among African-American males and develop programs which emphasize academics.
States should pass laws which mandate parental accountability in the education of their children. School systems should develop alternatives to suspension and expulsion of students, develop alternative programs to reduce the number of African-American males in special education classes, and increase the number of African-American male teachers in secondary schools. Colleges and universities should develop affirmative action programs that are designed specifically to recruit, admit and retain African-American males. Every school district should conduct an extensive study of the status of African-American male students at all stages of education.
Unless public school systems take an aggressive role in planning, developing, and implementing educational systems that meet the needs of all students, especially African-American males, the dream that Martin Luther King spoke of and the decision in Brown is forever deferred.
. Professor of Law, Capital University Law School (Columbus, Ohio). B.S., North Carolina A&T State University, 1974; J.D., Howard University Law School, 1977.