High School Resources

Affirmative Action

This lesson provides a focused look at Affirmative Action through a close examination of the 1978 Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke and the 1996 California ballot initiative Proposition 209. Students will examine the goal of diversity as a "compelling state interest" and the claim of past discrimination to evaluate affirmative action strategies as a tool in the continued struggle for civil rights. 

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Ballot Propositions and Civil Rights

This lesson examines the history of ballot propositions in the struggle for equal rights in California. Students examine the tension between “the voice of the majority” and the defense of minority rights and the role played by the judiciary in protecting the Constitutional rights of minority communities from injustices imposed by majority rule through the ballot initiative process.

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The Right to Religious Freedom

This lesson is meant to accompany or follow a larger discussion of the Bill of Rights.  Students will learn why minority religious communities are vulnerable to violations of their religious liberty, how times of social stress or war create a set of conditions that threaten civil liberties, how the judicial branch can function to protect minority populations against popular prejudice as expressed through local officials, how judges sometimes have to weigh Constitutional protections against competing claims, and how the appeals process can function to maximize plaintiffs' opportunities to protect their rights and set a wider precedent to protect others in similar circumstances.

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The Fight for Racial Equality in Education

This lesson broadens the study of the ongoing struggle for racial equality in the schools beyond Brown v. Board of Education through an examination of the judiciary’s role in safeguarding the rights of communities of color to a quality public education. Students will understand how the battle by different ethnic and racial communities to end school segregation in California in the late19th and first part of the 20th centuries predated more well known efforts by African Americans in Southern states, how the Mexican-American community in southern California through Mendez v. Westminster in the 1940s used groundbreaking legal strategies to challenge school segregation, how minority populations use a range of political strategies to fight for equality in public education, the difference between de facto and de jure segregation, and the impact of residential segregation on school segregation.

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