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Equality of Educational Opportunity

The concept of equal educational opportunity was thrust into prominence in the United States in the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The Court reasoned that equalizing educational opportunity had become imperative because it had become so tightly entangled with equalizing opportunity to access society’s goods more generally. The focus of the Court’s decision was ending the legalized segregation of Black children in public schools. In 1965, with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the imperative to equalize educational opportunity was extended to low-income children. In subsequent years, court decisions and legislation extended the imperative further to address disability, language, and gender. Today, there are calls to include sexual orientation and immigrant status, among other categories.

Since Brown, considerable ...

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