Dre gives an overview of the history of the United States public education system as it relates to segregation and opportunity for black students. He highlights the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case and how it forced schools to integrate. He also mentions the positive impact of integration on academic achievement and expresses disappointment that schools have become more segregated than ever since the overturn of the mandatory integration ruling.
A white student and a black student get in a fight at school. Rainbow is caught in the middle of it when a teacher asks her to point out which student started the fight. Rainbow debates on who to choose because her decision could mean picking sides at her racially segregated school.
The plot of The Great Debaters revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson at a historically black Wiley College to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s. The movie explores the social fabric of Texas during the Great Depression, for which as long as schools are segregated for whites and blacks, the quality of education will be vastly unequal.