The importance of education cannot be overstated. Education is a core principle of the American Dream, and as such, it is the ticket to a better paying job, homeownership, financial security, and a better way of life. Education is the key factor in reducing poverty and inequality and promoting sustained national economic growth. But while the U.S. Supreme Court has referred to education as "perhaps the most important function of the state and local governments," it has nevertheless stopped short of declaring education a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution. As a consequence, because education is not considered a fundamental right, it does not have to be offered equally to all.
Despite the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which was followed by legislative efforts to provide greater educational opportunities for minorities by alleviating discrimination, disparities in the availability and quality of education for minorities and other lower income students have become more pronounced over time.' Today, these disparities result in two general problems. First, many minority and lower income families live in school districts that lack the resources of wealthier districts." Thus, students in poorer districts tend to drop out at a higher rate, consigning them to a lifetime of low-paying jobs and poverty. Second, students who continue on to higher education are generally unprepared as compared to their cohorts from wealthier school districts. Therefore, not only will more elite institutions of higher education be foreclosed to those students, but they will struggle to obtain a postsecondary degree and many will drop out prior to obtaining that degree." Without a postsecondary degree, these individuals will be relegated to low-paying jobs, usually with few opportunities for advancement.
Camilla E. Watson,
How the State and Federal Tax Systems Operate to Deny Educational Opportunities to Minorities and Other Lower Income Students
, 72 S.C. L. Rev. 625
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/1408