Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund and vocal advocate for our nation’s children, has pulled important data from the most recent Department of Education Civil Rights Data Collection Survey. Citing the 2009-2010 version, she speaks to things we know all too well: “inequities in funding and educational resources place poor children in low-performing schools, with inadequate facilities and often ineffective teachers.”
The litany of practices that contribute to the discouragement and disengagement of so many American children will continue to be a part of our educational landscape until we demonstrate the will to change our approach. Edelman quotes Education Secretary Arne Duncan who noted that “The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that.”
There are many individuals, groups and organizations who agree wholeheartedly and are trying to make this issue a priority. Stand for Children’s guiding premise is that the educational inequity in our school systems IS our era’s civil rights struggle; advocates for Time and Learning correctly note that the additional time dedicated to helping individual children enrich their learning experiences is time that middle class families routinely provide their children. The data is profound and consistent; what is required is courage and the will to make changes that are so very obvious.