Black, White and Brown
May 16, 2004 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Black, White & Brown. A great 9-part video feature on the NYT site (registration required) featuring a discussing between Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
posted by adrober (2 comments total)
booknotes recently had an interview with charles ogletree about his new book all deliberate speed: reflections on the first half-century of brown vs. board of education (teacher guide :) while there's also a documentary out as well! oh and gates had a (uneven) documentary series recently too on pbs.
posted by kliuless at 3:57 PM on May 16, 2004

One of the odder fallouts of Brown, but not limited to Brown, was the "experimental" philosophy. In other words, it wasn't good enough to integrate students, the system had to experiment with their education, and with the schools curriculum--sometimes with disastrous results.

For example, English language, to that time, had been taught solely phonetically. But with integration, this changed to "whole language" instruction, because of the "experimental" philosophy, which had an odd consequence: though the black students were now in a wealthier school, integrated with white students, the English language test scores of *both* groups dropped.

Black student English language skills, that had been strongly trending upwards for years, suddenly took a nosedive. And, wrongly, integration was blamed, when in fact, it was the additional change in methodology that was wrong.

Ironically, "whole language" somehow got so associated with integration, that its true believers equate the two, to the detriment of any student it is still inflicted on. To challenge the philosophy is still seen as a rejection of integration, which is madness. Were black students just integrated into the same curriculum as the white students had used before, their future success would have been much brighter. As the commercial goes: "People do judge you by the words you use."

In other words, integration by itself can and did achieve some very laudable goals. But it is unwise to confuse the availability of a good education with a good education itself.
posted by kablam at 7:01 PM on May 16, 2004

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