Orienting to History
Some schools orient new students through games, parties and tours. TC does all that, but it also orients students to its mission. This year, both at one of the many New Student Orientation events and at an event on Constitution Day, students were asked to think about educational equity and the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education.
On September 5, new TC students packed Lerner Hall at
That theme carried over to Constitution Day at TC. Constitution Day is mandated by federal law. Congress passed this provision with the intent to increase knowledge of the U.S. Constitution among students of all ages. Starting in 2005, all schools that receive any federal funding must hold a Constitution Day event.
"Did Brown v. Board of Education Promise Comprehensive Educational Equity?" was the topic for discussion at TC. This two-hour event, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Community and The Campaign for Educational Equity, was open to the entire TC Community and started with a lecture by Rebell in Milbank Chapel. Rebell discussed the broader implications of Brown, which held that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional, and the difficulties that the federal courts ran into in fully implementing the decision. More specifically, Rebell said that while the vision of Brown was equal educational opportunity for all students, the federal courts ultimately withdrew from enforcing that vision. As a result, state courts became the arena for the ongoing fight for equal educational opportunity.
Rebell asked the group to think about what it would really take to realize the Brown vision.
"We need to define a substantive base level of opportunity that society must accord each individual to provide him or her a fair start," he said. "The issue is: what are the most important impediments that need to be overcome? What is that substantive base level necessary to provide equality of educational opportunity? Would this be comprehensive educational equity?" said Rebell.previous page