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are becoming as concerned about the normative values received by their children as they are about the technical skills acquired. It is not sufficient simply to know how not to split infinitives. It is very important to question what sense of values the black children are receiving. Are they, in the process of preparing to achieve high scores on "standardized tests," being induced to try to emulate the culture of another ethnic or racial group? Are they being given a sense of their own heritage? For too long, educational "experts" and social scientists have either ignored these questions, or they have assumed them to be insignificant. Always, the assumption has been that black Americans (1) needed to assimilate with whites in the existing school structures, and (2) wanted such assimilation. Certainly some black people rejected this, but the vocal, visible thrust always was toward integration. This thrust reached its peak in 1964-1965 with a series of school boycotts in several northern cities aimed at desegregating the de facto segregated schools.
The struggle to end discrimination became synonymous with school integration. Major attention was placed on breaking down legal and extra-legal barriers to desegregation. Few people talked about the content of the education black children would receive in those desegregated schools. Indeed, there was little need for such talk since the assumption was that the black children would benefit. without question. This has been an unfortunate omission, because when one talks legitimacy, one is talking of normative values first, and structural arrangements second. It is not sufficient, for example, to devise a Head Start program without first carefully examining what we are giving those little children a head start into. Many plans for busing black children have been devised over the past few years. But how many hours have been spent thinking about the substance of the education those children would get after they got off those buses and went into the classrooms? (The response recently has been to conduct quickie summer institutes for middle-class white teachers to prepare them to teach "disadvantaged" black children.) These kinds of concerns simply have not been on the list of priorities of established decision-makers in this society. Such omission is the function of the assumption of a cultural and technical superiority which has gone largely unchallenged until recently. And when the challenge comes, it is painful and difficult for those in power to absorb and understand. They will readily admit their prior ineffectiveness, but it is insulting to their concepts and criteria to charge them with illegitimacy.