[Hpn] Congresswomen Judy Biggert's statement on Brown v. Board

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Wed, 27 Jun 2001 17:31:29 -0400

The below forwarded statement by Judy Biggert 
<http://www.house.gov/biggert>, who represents the Illinois 13th district in 
the U.S. House, includes comments regarding the school segregation of 
children who are homeless and the education bills (H.1 and S.1) in 
conference committee in the U.S. Congress.


-------Forwarded FYI-------

On: Wednesday, June 27, 2001 at 17:04:33 -0400
Barbara Duffield <bduffield@nationalhomeless.org> sent:

Biggert statement on Brown v. Board


Please find below the statement given by Congresswoman Judy Biggert
today regarding the establishment of a commission for the 50th
Anniversary of Brown v. Board of education.

Congressman Danny Davis also spoke in agreement with Biggert.


Statement of U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-Il13th)

Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Brown V. Board of Education, H.R.1

June 27, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to lend my support to H.R. 2133.  This
legislation commemorates - through the establishment of a commission
-- the 50th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education
Supreme Court decision, which sparked the end of school segregation
based on race in this country.

It goes without saying that school segregation and desegregation were
among America's most controversial social issues during the last half
of the 20th Century.  Along with many Americans, I can clearly recall
scenes of violence and upheaval that took place in the 1950s, 60s and
70s in places as diverse as Boston and Little Rock as our nation's
public schools made the transition to integration.

We have much to be thankful for as a result of the Supreme Court's
decision some 50 years ago.  Today, our children and our children's
children find themselves interacting daily in the school setting with
other boys and girls of different colors and ethnicity - broadening
their perspectives and expanding their horizons in ways that were not
experienced by previous generations.

Today, we no longer see the blatant and blanket denial of educational
opportunities to children based solely on the color of their skin.
As a result of the Brown decision, we as a society no longer accept
the flawed doctrine outlined in the earlier case of Plessy versus
Ferguson that separate means equal.

These are all things that should rightfully be celebrated and
commemorated.  But, before we go patting ourselves on the back while
claiming that education segregation is dead, we may first want to
take a closer look at our public schools.  What we will find is that,
while race is no longer the basis for segregation, in some states,
homelessness is the basis for segregation.

That's troubling news in itself.  What is even more troubling is
that, some 47 years after the historic Brown versus Board of
Education ruling, Congress may inadvertently be endorsing the de
facto segregation of homeless children.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1, passed in May by this body, contains a
"grandfather" clause permitting school districts that currently
receive federal education dollars and that segregate homeless
children in separate schools or classrooms to continue to do so.
This is contrary to what federal law currently says.  It is also
contrary to the spirit of Brown versus Board of Education that we
commemorate today.

There is no sound educational rationale for educating homeless
students away from other students.  Homelessness is not an
educational condition - it is a state of poverty marked by a
temporary loss of housing.  Children experiencing homelessness have
the same learning needs as other children, and are capable of
reaching the same academic standards.

I am hopeful that this body will reconsider this in conference and
strike it from H.R. 1 before we send it to the President for his
signature.  Now, that would be a fitting tribute to the decision made
by the United States Supreme Court on May 17, 1954.

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the gentleman from Kansas on this
legislation, and yield back the balance of my time.

Thank you.
National Coalition for the Homeless
1012 Fourteenth Street, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005-3405
Phone: 202-737-6444, ext. 18
Fax: 202-737-6445
Email: bduffield@nationalhomeless.org
Web: http://www.nationalhomeless.org

-------End of forward-------

Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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