A Systematic Compilation of the Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice In Education (DESJE) Program

Cynthia Ochoa, University of Texas at El Paso


Exceling in formal education is one way to improve a person’s social mobility and life chances (McMahaon & Oketch, 2013). However, there is a long line of educational inequity in the United States from the founding of the nation to the present. People of color and minorities have fought long and hard for educational equity, with the most effective approaches being grassroots mobilization and court battles (Lopez & Burciaga, 2014). This includes examples such as California schools denying entrance to Chinese American children to enter schools based on their ancestry in the 1800s; the arrest of Margaret Douglass for teaching literacy to enslaved people in 1854, along with the horrors of enslavement and its extension, through Jim Crow laws, as well as Juan Crow (Madrigal-Garcoa & Acevedo-Gil, 2016). Mendez v. Westminster (1947) established that segregating Spanish-Speaking Mexican children was unconstitutional, laying the groundwork for the 1954 Brown v. the Board of Education decision (Noltemeyer, et al, 2012). Legal advances go hand-in hand with grass-roots activism, as the Little Rock Nine (1957) fought to integrate schools after Brown, and the struggles persist. Activists continue to fight for the educational rights of people with disabilities after the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well. Similarly, Spaulding and Pratt (2015) show us that the treatment of people with disabilities follows societal and cultural trends, changing conceptions of disability as a qualitative or quantitative phenomenon, shifting emphases on nature versus nurture, and the new not necessarily being better than the old.

Subject Area

Education|Early childhood education|Disability studies|Educational sociology

Recommended Citation

Ochoa, Cynthia, "A Systematic Compilation of the Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice In Education (DESJE) Program" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30639188.