The Non-Viability of Single-Race, Single-Sex Schools


In 1954, a unanimous United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson in the field of public education. Congress enacted the 1964 Civil Rights Act to bolster the federal effort to disestablish racial segregation in public accommodations. Title VI of the Act stipulates that “no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financialassistance.”‘ In accordance with Title VI, race can never be the basis for either segregating or excluding any person from participation in a federally-funded program. Similarly, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, with limited exceptions, prohibits the exclusion from federally-funded programs of any person on the basis of sex. Yet despite these laws and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown, self-styled black nationalists and some feminists are urging state education authorities to skirt their legal responsibilities in order to open “special” public schools or classes exclusively for black boys or single sexes.

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