Monday, April 22, 2013

Government: Public Participation

Changes in public policy in the United States have often been the result of changes in American culture and values. New laws and policies have been written as a result of changes in attitudes toward voting rights, segregation, prohibition, affirmative action, citizenship and immigration, and minority rights, etc.

It is sometimes the Supreme Court that mandates changes in public policy. One such case is the case of Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, which required the nation to integrate its public schools and ended the long-held doctrine of separate, but equal facilities for blacks and whites in the public schools.

Please read the handouts on Racial Inequality (Public Education, Affirmative Action, & In the Courtroom). Answer the questions for each section.

Some vocabulary to familiarize yourself with before the reading...
  • plaintiff – person who brings a lawsuit against another
  • respondent – person who is being sued
  • separate but equal doctrine – laws allowing separate facilities for blacks and whites as long as the facilities were equal; established in the case of Plessy  v. Ferguson (1896)
  • objective factors (in measuring segregation’s effect in schools) – things which can be measured, such as number of books, condition of buildings, number of teachers
  • subjective factors – things which are difficult to measure such as reputation of faculty, prestige of a degree from a particular school, reputation of graduates, networking
  • affirmative action - policies that required active measures be taken to ensure that blacks and other minorities enjoyed the same opportunities for promotions, salary increases, career advancement, school admissions, scholarships, and financial aid that had been the nearly exclusive province of whites

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