What was " the question"presented to the  Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the argument can be made that there were many fundamental questions brought before the Court in this particular decision.  Consider how Justice Warren framed his decision in his majority opinion:

We must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life... In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity . . . is a right which must be available to all on equal terms. We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race... deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

Warren's stance highilghts how two issues form the crux of the question in the case.  On one hand, the issue of education is something that is seen as so vitally important that it must transcend the reality of segregation.  Accordingly, if education can transcend segregation, then segregation, itself, is called into question because it lies antithetical to the aims and promises of a democratic society.  The demand of education to be integrated helps to parlay the discussion of how segregation must be ended in order for the nation to "form a more perfect union."  I think that this becomes one of the critical elements of the case and presents itself as the central question upon which the court not only ruled but ended up transforming American society.  The "question" becomes whether or not the Court can speak to what defines transcendence in a political and social sense and what it can to do enhance it, if anything. For Justice Warren and the members of the court in the majority, it was to strike down the practice of segregation and demand that integration happen "with all deliberate speed."

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