This post reflects on the film, Equality (1950-1980). Throughout the reflection, three questions will be answered.
1) Do you see any race inequalities in the film?
2) Is education a civil right?
3) What is our view of children and adolescents at that time?
Do you see any race inequalities in the film?
- During the 1950’s segregation was a dominant theme throughout schools. Segregation was seen in:
- Student government
- Sports teams
- School population
- In many cases, schools were either all black or all white, depending on the location of the school.
- Parents fought segregation of schools, wanting integrated schools
- Boards thought they were separate but equal—this was not so.
- Often the white suburban schools were well stocked and funded, while African American Schools were underfunded and without proper resources.
- Beginning in 1930’s but continuing through the 50’s NAACP lawyers traveled to schools and inspecting to prove that African American schools did not have equal-facilities, resources, or environments.
- In the late 1960’s many Mexican students were integrated into schools. Yet, most teachers were Anglo-American. These students were not allowed to speak Spanish in class, and textbooks did not reflect any positive aspects of the Mexican culture.
- In Crystal City, school “walk outs” reflected a reaction to lack of equal education toward minority students. The action of going on strike was found necessary when the board of education in abruptly adjourned an educational meeting and debate in which students and protesters were voicing the needs of minority students.
- As a result of the strikes, Crystal City schools became a laboratory for bilingual education.
- At this time, several lawyers sued the San Francisco school district who taught English only. Equality of education requires different treatment to student of different languages.
Is education a civil right?
- President Johnson- equal chance at education, meant equal chance at life
- Civil rights act of 1964, banned discrimination on basis of race or ethnicity in any federally funded institution, including schools.
- By the early 1970’s, feminist leaders pushed for movements which advocated women’s rights
- At this time, it was legal for an educational institution to have a quota of women admitted to a graduate school.
- Title 9 – 1973 had a groundbreaking precedent that if men and women were going to have equality in sports in schools, they should have equal funding.
- Before Title 9, textbooks and reading books encouraged gender inequality by picturing boys as active members of society, while women stayed at home and cooked and cleaned.
- Girls were discouraged from math/science, while boys were encouraged in sports
- Title 9 said, you could not put men and women together in a sport and pick the best players (most often men), but there should be principals of equity in sports, (i.e. two sports teams, women’s leagues ect.)
- As a result of Title 9, textbooks changed, sports teams for women were created, graduates of both men and women were close to equal, and job/career movements changed.
What is our view of children and adolescents at that time?
- Movements of education representative of movements in adult life.
- Children and adolescence became the training ground for change in society.
- For the first time, all children and adolescence, both male and female, black and white, began to have the same rights and were given the same opportunities within school.
This film is part of a series of four called:
School- “The Story of American Public Education”
It was produced by PBS and narrated by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. For more information see link: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/publicschool/