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Education or Exclusion? Understanding Discrimination in Schools

Education is critical to both personal and societal success. For individuals, education opens doors to careers, relationships and ways of understanding the world. For society, education results in a more engaged citizenry, economic and job market strength and an understanding of what is fair and just.

While it’s true that education offers powerful benefits, it’s equally true that those benefits are not accessible to all Americans. Nearly 70 years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared racial segregation in schools unlawful in Brown v. Board of Education, educational opportunities for people of certain races, classes and ethnicities are still lacking.

Attentive school children sitting cross-legged

Why do we continue to see gaps in educational opportunity and achievement? Of course, there are many answers to that seemingly simple question, including various economic conditions, demographics and much more. But in this article, I want to focus on the legal system and how aspects of that system allow discrimination in schools to persist.

Limited Federal Protection for Education as a Civil Right

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of