I read with some interest Paul Marx's commentary about the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education ("60 years after 'Brown,' mixed results," May 16). I concur wholeheartedly with Mr. Marx's assessment that the Brown decision was a hallmark for equity in our country and that cities need better schools if they are to retain residents. His remaining conclusions deserve a second look.
The intent of the Brown decision was to ensure that every child gets a quality education regardless of the color of his or her skin. The writer's suggestion that disparity still exists because "disadvantaged black youth brought the effects of their deprived childhoods into white middle class schools and had the aggregate results of bringing down the quality" is nonsense.
That there is disparity based on race in our country — in education and many other arenas — is clear. It has far more to do with the fact that opportunity is, too often, available or elusive based on skin color and ZIP code. For too many children, the absence of opportunities to be healthy, safe and thrive has enormous consequences in all facets of their lives, including school performance. To lay the blame for inadequate schools at the feet of disadvantaged children is, well, a little like blaming the canary for expiring in a gas-filled mine.
Molly McGrath Tierney, Baltimore
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