A Response to the Conservative Attack
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the idea of equalizing educational opportunity provided the rationale for an extraordinary number of federal initiatives designed to improve education for those long neglected by the educational system. Few of these initiatives mandated fundamental changes. More than ever before, however, they focused national attention and resources on the educational needs of economically disadvantaged white and minority children, made better education for low-income children and children of color a major national priority, and expanded the authority of the federal government to intervene to secure such improvement. Measured against the long history of racism and inequality in American education and of resistance to federal involvement in education, this represented an unprecedented accomplishment.