Since the 1960s Americans have continued to press for equal educational opportunity. But the meaning of equal opportunity remains controversial. Americans have put their hopes in different and sometimes conflicting approaches to education—further integration, a return to racially separate schools, neighborhood choice, school vouchers, multicultural teaching, or an end to multicultural programs. Through all these years, immigration has continued to change the complexion of classrooms and the expectations of parents and students for American schools.
In addition, schools are influenced by where people choose to live and the use of property taxes to finance public education, among other factors. While not consciously racist, these practices tend to perpetuate segregated and unequal public schools.
|This Court has long recognized that ‘education...is the very foundation of good citizenship’ Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). For this reason, the diffusion of knowledge and opportunity through public institutions of higher education must be accessible to all individuals regardless of race or ethnicity.|
|— Sandra Day O’Connor, from the majority opinion|