It is not often that the U.S. Supreme Court admits that one of its previous decisions, especially one that shaped the fabric of our nation, was fundamentally wrong. One such instance occurred in 1954, when the court famously declared, in Brown v. Board of Education, that the doctrine of “separate but equal” public schools for black children and white children was unconstitutional. In Brown, the court overturned, for public schools, its approval of this doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and established that segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court also proclaimed that educational “opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”
Kimberly Jenkins Robinson & Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Inequitable Schools Demand a Federal Remedy, 17 Educ. Next 71 (2017).