An excellent lecture was delivered by Prof. Adam R. Nelson from University of Wisconsin-Madison on May 27th. This is one of the lectures in the lecture series on the idea of equal educational opportunity of United States which consist of four themes namely racial desegregation in public schools, the equal opportunities for children from poor families, the special education for disabled people and the bilingual education for non-English-speaking children.
In this lecture, Prof. Nelson introduced the historical development of the Act and the policies between 1950 to 1970 which facilitated the improvement of racial integrated education and educational opportunity for children from poor families.
To illustrate the process of racial desegregation in education, Prof. Nelson introduced the origin and legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, elaborating the obstacles, conflict, controversy and the solution in the process of developing and carrying out the Act.
Besides the equality among races, the equal educational opportunity between rich and poor classes is another dimension to analyze the issue of educational equality. Prof. Nelson elaborated the game playing among the Federal government, the state governments and the local governments in terms of improving the educational equality under the tension of expanding the educational scale. The analysis focused on the role of the federal government in improving the educational equality by legislation and strategic funding.
With the progress of democratization, the right of education became an important component of human rights and civil rights in modern society. The educational equality therefore became a key goal for countries to achieve. Prof. Nelson analyzed the different attitude and choice of different stakeholders in the process of improving educational equality. He pointed out that the process of improving educational equality in United States is not a plain sailing but a process of arguing, debating, conflicting and game playing under American political system and specific historical background.
After the lecture, Professor Nelson had a further discussion with the audience on some other important issues, like the role of the key persons who facilitated the development of the policy, the relationship between the federal and the state governments, and the formation of an effective educational system.
Department of Education
May 31st, 2011