Grades 6-8 Summit Learning

School Desegregation

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of the education system in the United States, focusing on the extent to which systemic racism continues to plague modern schooling. Students investigate schooling before and after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case in order to evaluate the impact and effectiveness, or “success,” of school desegregation. 


Compelling Question:

Was School Desegregation Successful?

Staging the Question: Students view a series of images of segregated schools and analyze the images using "I Notice/I Wonder" protocol.

Supporting Question What did school look like for Black and White students before desegregation?

Formative Task Create a T-chart list to compare the schooling experiences of Black and White students.

Sources Source A: Description of minority (Black) schools
Source B: Black students describe their experiences


Supporting Question How did schooling change for Black and White students after Brown v. Board of Education?

Formative Task Write a paragraph that compares and contrasts schooling for Black students before and after the ruling of Brown vs. Board of Education took effect.

Sources Source A: Khan Academy, Brown v. Board
Source B: Descriptions of Brown v. Board


Supporting Question How did Black and White students feel about schooling after school desegregation?

Formative Task Write a description of students’ schooling experiences after desegregation.

Sources Source A: Article, “The Forgotten Girls…”
Source B: The Lost Year documentary resources
Source C: Video, “One Man’s Remorse…”


Supporting Question To what extent are schools still segregated?

Formative Task Construct an evidence-based claim that answers the supporting question.

Sources Source A: Article, “We Can Draw School Zones to Make Classrooms Less Segregated…”
Source B: Racial Inequality Database, ProPublica
Source C: Article, “What School Segregation Looks Like in the US Today…”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Was School Desegregation Successful? Construct an argument that discusses the compelling question using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical and contemporary sources while acknowledging competing views.
Extension: Create a visual representation of your argument to communicate your argument. This visual aid can be in the form of a powerpoint, poster, etc.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Explore the racial and economic demographics of schools in your state/region.
Assess: Evaluate the extent to which the school/district is segregated and ways the school/district could be more integrated.
Act: Propose a set of guidelines and petition for your school and community based on your analysis of school desegregation. Present the proposal and petition to your school board and State Representative.