School Business Affairs January 2021

10 JANUARY 2021 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS HOT TOPICS IN EDUCATION Social Injustice and Equity in Schools School business officials are in a unique position within the school community to financially guide district leadership and school boards toward decisions that may lead to greater equity. By Tamara L. Mitchell T he 1954 United States Supreme Court Case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka , was pivotal in its ruling that “separate but equal” public education was unconstitutional and was, in fact, not equal. This ruling was a departure from the Court’s ruling in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson that allowed for racially segregated public facilities, including pub- lic schools. While Brown began the process of desegregating pub- lic schools nearly 70 years ago, there is still debate about how much impact the decision had. One reason for the debate is that since enrollment boundaries for public schools in the United States result in schools being a reflection of the population the communities serve, they may still be racially segregated by default. Racial segregation was the highlight of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling, but the driving force that escalated the case to the U.S. Supreme Court was funding. Inequitable funding of schools allowed for stark differences in facilities and curriculum materials available to students then and continues to be an issue now. As recently as 2019, 14 U.S. states faced court battles over school funding adequacy. Brown was meant to put into motion the dismantling of blatant inequality within the public education system of the United States with its ruling that separate was not PIXEL-SHOT/STOCK.ADOBE.COM