Schools: No longer separate, still not equal
DFER's CA director Gloria Romero with a powerful column:
nearly six decades after Brown, America still struggles to ensure not only a high-quality education to every child, but an equal one.
The promise of speed has been impaled on the politics of paralysis. The needs of children have taken a back seat on the bus to the special interests of adults that have continued to drive the education bureaucracy.
…There is a state of emergency in public education in California. But this state of emergency is not just about money, and it will never be resolved by simply asking taxpayers to tax themselves more to maintain a broken system. Fifty-seven years have passed and the outcomes are even worse. Defenders of the status quo blame it on the children, blame it on their parents, blame it on poverty, blame it on anyone and anything other than the system itself. Unfortunately, too many of my fellow Democrats are willing to hold on to this broken system if it means holding on to political careers.
How much longer do we pretend that we do not see? In a public education system that is entirely based on ZIP code, we see parents who fight for their children by removing them from chronically failing schools actually be arrested and sent to jail. What would the Brown parents think about that? Whether it is a mother in Ohio going to jail, or parents in Compton going to court to demand their right to use these new laws, they invoke the spirit of their predecessors from Topeka.
…We must break the stranglehold of adult special interests and provide children the educational opportunities and futures too many of their older siblings and parents were denied.
Fifty-seven years after Brown v. Board of Education, we have not only failed to progress, we have actually gone back in time. It will take moral strength and courage to put the interests of children first and to force change in troubled neighborhood schools that are failing to honor the legacy of Brown. But we have to keep up the struggle – with all deliberate speed.