Affirmative Action in the Education System of the United States

Affirmative Action in the Education System

Affirmative action is necessary in school systems to avoid discrimination. If it was taken out today, it would affect the education system as a whole. If you take out affirmative action there wouldn’t be equal opportunity among students. Racism still exists in our society today just like it did in the past even though many deny it.

A historical event that has helped shape today’s education system was the enrollment of the Little Rock Nine and the crisis that followed. In the court case Brown v. board of education, the court mandated that all public schools in the country be integrated with all deliberate speed. This helped put into effect the 1972 Title IX of the Education Amendments Act. It states that schools, “…must provide reasonable opportunities.” The Little Rock Nine was a group of nine students recruited by the NAACP in Arkansas.

They were the first to attend the formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. On their first day of classes, Governor Orval Faubus, of Arkansas prevented the students from entering the formerly racially segregated school by calling in the Arkansas National Guard. The Little Rock Nine students didn’t get to attend classes until three weeks after school had started. President Eisenhower had to take action and send troops to escort the students through their first full day of classes on September 25, 1957. This was the turning point of affirmative action in historical education because schools were beginning to be desegregated. The excerpt by Nathan Glazer in 1975 says, “Black students occupied the school buildings and demanded that the privileges given on the basis of race be retained.” They wanted to feel equal just like the others.

In the excerpt from Lyndon B. Johnson’s speech to the graduating class of 1965 from Howard University he addresses civic responsibility by saying. “This is the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.” President Johnson says this because The Little Rock Nine had made a change in the nation. This caused a civil rights movement and made others realize that they had more opportunities. They could now get college degree and have the same education as everyone else.

Affirmative action is still necessary today because the U.S. government has suggested taking it away before. That would just create a battle for civil rights all over again. In Nell Irvin Painter’s, “Whites Say I Must Be on Easy Street” essay in the New York Times, Dec. 10, 1981 “… the Reagan Administration’s proposed dismantling of affirmative action fuses the future and the past. If they achieve their stated goals, we will have the same old discrimination, unneedful of new clothes.” This source relates to our history by showing that even though there are issues with affirmative action, it is still necessary to keep equity among students and citizens.

Our beliefs are that we need equal opportunity to be enforced. Otherwise, discrimination will become a perennial problem. Students need a platform to be on the same level as their neighbors. In Painter’s essay students are saying that, “White students and professors think we only got into the University of North Carolina because we’re black… and they don’t believe we’re truly qualified… It was the stigma of affirmative action.” These historical actors say that affirmative action is putting a stigma that they are under qualified. They feel that if it was taken out, it would show that they have what it takes. However, this is not the case today. In Justice Lewis Powell’s opinion in the Bakke Case 1978 it says, “In such an admission program, race or ethnic background may be deemed a ‘plus’ in a particular applicant’s file, yet it does not insulate the individual from comparison with all the other candidates for the available seats. The file of a particular black applicant may be examined for his potential contribution to diversity without the factor of race being decisive when compared…”

Kansas Senator Bob Dole states in his speech addressing the Senate in 1995, “Discrimination is illegal. Those who discriminate ought to be punished. And those who are individual victims of the illegal discrimination have every right to receive the remedial relief they deserve.” This shows that affirmative action is very important. It makes sure that everyone is treated equal in the education system. Students cannot fall victim to discrimination within their education. There are now discrimination laws in accordance with affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity among students.

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Affirmative Action in the Education System of the United States. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved May 24, 2024 , from

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