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Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise Image Strip of Linda Brown walking to school, girl taking test at desk, Nettie Hunt and daughter with newspaper headline on steps of Supreme Court, present day children raising hands, children at computers
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LESSON PLANS

The following are lesson plans relating Brown to contemporary issues in education.
NOTE: In order to access and print the Downloaded Lesson Plans and Student Activity Sheets for each lesson, you will need Adobe Acrobat. If you do not already have this tool, you may download Adobe Acrobat free of charge at the Adobe Web site.

Recognizing and Combating Segregation in U.S. Schools Today
Background: Fifty years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawed segregated schools, many students today still find themselves attending segregated schools. Upon examining the statistics, it is safe to say that a major factor in today's segregation is poverty. According to statistics, "Only 15 percent of highly-segregated white schools have student bodies living in concentrated poverty. Some 88 percent of highly-segregated minority schools have student populations living in concentrated poverty." In addition to poverty, segregation also occurs inside integrated schools as well. Because of ability tracking, "You have Latino kids who go through their entire school day without seeing a white kid, and you have white kids who have almost no interaction with their Latino classmates, and it is all done within the same school," says North Hollywood High School teacher Randy Vail. Looking at these and other factors, we must examine ways to identify segregation within today's schools and make an active effort to combat against it in order for students to learn to work together.
Subject Areas: Civics, Government, Citizenship, Debate, Math, Language Arts

View the Lesson Plan online here
Download the full Lesson Plan here (PDF)

Using High Stakes Testing to Make Students and Schools Accountable for Learning
Background: Over the past ten years, the majority of U.S. states have enacted some form of High Stakes Testing to evaluate student performance. When President George Bush enacted the "No Child Left Behind" legislation in January 2002, it changed the role of the U.S. government in public schools. While the legislation is aimed at creating better schools through increased funding and raising student achievement, its primary focus is on the use of standardized tests to evaluate results. The problem lies in the quality of tests being administered. Each state is responsible for designing their own testing program including setting standards and developing test content, reporting results, and soon, showing "adequate progress" toward meeting state standards each year. In addition, the results of these tests are then compared with National Assessment of Educational Progress standards to see if they are rigorous enough. As a result of this legislation, many states are now creating testing programs so rigorous that many students, some of them extremely successful, cannot pass. In some states literally thousands of students are repeating grades year after year because they cannot pass the High Stakes Test established by the state. Students who have successfully completed all the coursework necessary to earn high school diplomas and enter college are kept from graduating because of their inability to pass High Stakes Tests. In addition, many of the tests do not take into account the needs of students with disabilities. Nationally there have been a number of successful lawsuits against the use of these tests, particularly when failure to pass the exam results in students being unable to graduate. A number of lawsuits against High Stakes Testing are currently pending nationwide.
Subject Areas: Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Modern Problems, Language Arts, and Debate

View the Lesson Plan online here
Download the full Lesson Plan here (PDF)

For additional lesson plans, see Lesson Plans for Middle and High School Level Students



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