Tomorrow May 17, 2009 marks the the 55th anniversary of the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. The decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court on May 17, 1954 overturned an earlier ruling Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities. (Wikipedia 2009) “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”, according to the Warren Court. (Wikipedia 2009). Some fifty five years later with a rise in e-Learning and virtual education there is a concern that a lack of digital access based on racial and socio-economic could very well equate to a modern day Brown v. Board of Education.
Each year I visit the hometown of both my parents in Georgetown, South Carolina. Prior to my trip, I have to make sure that I let my friends know that I will be “digitally” unreachable. Just 35 miles away from Myrtle Beach, Georgetown has limited or sometimes no access to the digital world. My aunt Sadie Greene is an elementary school teacher in the small town and her class room has one computer for over 20 plus students and there is no access to the Internet.
In a 2006 CBS News report by Jennifer Hoar Digital Divide 2.0 she states that the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) part of the No Child Left Behind Act to improve technology in classrooms has seen a substantial decrease in grant funding. These cuts in funding, I feel, further increase the divisions in education between the “have & have not” premise. Yes, technology can very well level the playing fields since it allows exchange between individuals without borders, collaborative learning among students & teachers, and provides for sharing innovative ideas at the click of a mouse. But for those who don’t have access remain unfortunately left out and left behind.