The Negative Effects Of Poverty And Racial Discrimination In Public Schools

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Since the 1950s, federal programs have sought to ameliorate the effects of poverty and racial discrimination in American education. They are sold to the states with the promise of increased educational funding if certain requirements are met. From Sputnik to Skype, Congress has authorized categorical funding grants for math and science - whenever it believed the United States was lagging in technological leadership. In the Civil Rights era, the spotlight shifted to segregation and discrimination in public schools. During the Johnson Administration, Americans turned their attention to the negative effects of poverty on education. Federal funds were allocated to expand and improve schools. By the end of the twentieth century, federal grants increasingly included more requirements, such as the adoption of curriculum standards and the administration of standardized testing. The Common Core, created during the Obama administration, is built upon this historic legacy of federal support for public education (Spring, 2016, p. 7). In 1958, the National Defense Education Act set the precedent for federal categorical aid “to support a particular educational program” (Spring, 2016, 246). In a nation paralyzed by fear of nuclear war, this bill offered hope. Financial assistance for schools expanded science and math programs to reassert American technological superiority over the Soviet Union (Spring, 2016, p. 220). Meanwhile, Milton Friedman was formulating the idea of school choice.
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