Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Education’s Opportunity Dashboard. We need it now! - Lily's Blackboard

Education’s Opportunity Dashboard. We need it now! - Lily's Blackboard:

Education’s Opportunity Dashboard. We need it now!

In the summer of 1857, 43 educators gathered in Philadelphia, answering a national call to unite as one voice in the cause of public education. At the time, learning to read and write was a privilege reserved for the fortunate few. But almost 160 years later, the voice of the once fledgling Association has risen to represent more than three million educators, and a free and public education has become a rite of passage for every American child.
Over the last 15 decades, the National Education Association (NEA) has led the country in advocating for children and the educators who teach and nurture them. Through the power of the collective, the union gave voice to some of the defining issues of our times: establishing the civil rights of Black children and educators, granting women the right to vote and leading the charge against child labor.
Ours is a history of people who inspired change. Today’s challenges require the same kind of leadership and moral courage demonstrated by the women and men who built our union.
I was born one year after the Supreme Court of the United States issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Educationopinion 60 years ago. By the time I began my career as an educator, I hoped that we would soon realize the promise of equal opportunity in education for every student.
Unfortunately, although the Court outlawed segregation, it is still a reality today – and Brown wasn’t simply about segregation. The Court wrote:
Lily Eskelsen
In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity … is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms …
The Justices were unanimous and they were unequivocal: equal opportunity in education is a constitutional right of all students. Yet that right to equal opportunity is still being denied to millions of students.
Most Hispanic and Black students are in classrooms in which at least two-thirds of their peers are also minorities, and virtually half are poor.
These schools often have inexperienced teachers, inadequate resources and dilapidated facilities. Plagued by segregated learning environments, minority children have remained disproportionately vulnerable to the legacy of racial bias and poverty.
This disparity in opportunity is illegal, immoral and costly for our nation. These opportunity gaps become even more urgent as the face of American public education is changing. Today, ethnic minority students comprise nearly 40 Education’s Opportunity Dashboard. We need it now! - Lily's Blackboard: