Editorial: Education is a citizen's right (2023)

OCivil Rights Act of 1964Eliminate segregation in public places and prohibit discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or national origin.

Before the 1964 law, African Americans faced enormous legally permissible challenges, including: discrimination in the workplace, reduced access to quality housing, disenfranchisement, and, ten years later, ongoing struggles to integrate public schools.brown v. Topeka Board of Education.

One of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement, the Civil Rights Act, resulted in greater social and economic mobility for African Americans across the country and prohibited racial discrimination, providing greater access to resources for women, religious minorities, African Americans, and low-income people. income. - income families.

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Additionally, the law paved the way for subsequent civil rights legislation for African-Americans and other minority groups, including the removal of discriminatory barriers to voting (Voting Rights Act of 1965), protection against discrimination when Americans rent, buy, or pay for housing (Fair Housing Act of 1968) and special legal protections for Americans with disabilities (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990).

Despite the tremendous progress our country has had since 1964; The Civil Rights Act should continue to shape the definition of and access to equal opportunity in our country. Commemorating the signing of the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964,White House initiative on educational excellence for African-Americans dieshighlighted five reasons why the Civil Rights Act is still important today.

1. Educational disparities still exist for African-American students

The data was released by the US Department of Education in June 2016.Office for Civil Rightshighlights opportunity gaps in public schools across the country.

For example, African-American middle and high school students are 3.8 times more likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions than white students in the same grade. There are also disproportionate license fees for students with disabilities.african american studentsthey are six times more likely to be suspended from school than any other group of girls.

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Strict school discipline policies that lead to expulsion and suspension negatively affect students and schools, including but not limited to: reduced class time and social interactions, blocking student access to resources such as school lunches or , subsequently, school programs and negative effects. about the school climate.

More importantly, harsh discipline measures are pushing African-American and Hispanic students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system known as the "school-to-prison pipeline."

Schools and communities must reconsider, evaluate, and eliminate discriminatory policies or practices to ensure that all students receive a quality education in schools where they feel safe and supported.

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Ensuring that students in all schools across the country have access to and are enrolled in rigorous courses is also a critical component of ensuring equity in education. This includes access to top-tier math and science courses.

Differences in course availability and enrollment create challenges in admission, preparation, and success. Maximizing educational opportunities from early childhood education through post-secondary success ensures that all students, regardless of race, national origin, gender, aptitude, sexuality, or religion, are equipped and supported to overcome academic or socioeconomic barriers to a quality education.

2. Community Building Resources

National commitment to the Civil Rights Act and desegregation increased efforts to integrate schools. School integration is now more important than ever. "Just like math and reading, science and social studies and the arts, diversity is no longer a luxury," Secretary King told the national PTA.

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"[Diversity] is essential to help our students prepare for the world they will face after high school and, increasingly, throughout their lives."

With the recent Supreme Courtfisherman's judgment, which affirmed affirmative action, institutions of higher education, among other institutions, must rethink and improve admissions policies and practices to better support racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic inclusion and diversity. Early childhood education, primary and secondary schools also play a role in ensuring diversity among teachers and leaders.

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Deepening racial and economic segregation in schools and colleges has mixed results, leading to underfunded and underperforming schools, disparities in the quality of instruction, and limitations on postsecondary education and career opportunities. Diversity matters and strengthens communities. Diverse and inclusive schools and institutions encourage communities and students to work together to solve seemingly intractable problems.

3. Opportunity gaps cause performance gaps

The National Council for Education Statistics (NCES) defines achievement gaps as the imbalance that occurs when one group of students significantly outperforms another group. Low-income African-American and non-white students still lag far behind their white, middle-class peers in literacy, math, high school completion, and college graduation rates.

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The persistent achievement gap is caused by an opportunity gap stemming from systemic and institutional inequalities in resources and support that have been shown to improve educational outcomes; such as a quality preschool, school funding, and an experienced faculty. A key factor in closing opportunity and achievement gaps is ensuring that African-American children and families have access to quality early childhood care and education programs and support systems.

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Parents, families, and communities can support early learning by participating in activities that develop important cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Using dance, music, and art to stimulate interest in learning and maintaining regular reading and storytelling routines can also encourage the development of language and motor skills.

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To ensure that African Americans are not constrained by persistent opportunity gaps, investments in quality early childhood education, such as the national push for universal preschool education, are essential to lay the foundation for development, learning, academic success, and productive citizenship. Ultimately, a strong early education paves the way for long-term success and propels us to close opportunity and performance gaps.

Educational policies that recognize, honor, and support a student's race, religion, ability, sexual or gender orientation, or native language are a significant way to respect the civil rights of many students.

4. Equal opportunity, equal recognition

The importance of the Civil Rights Act cannot be overstated. The law resulted in greater equality for women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and immigrants. The Civil Rights Act also influenced the implementation of educational policies that emphasized equal opportunity in education, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 and the subsequent 2015 reauthorization - Every Student Succeeds Act. (ESSA) . Of the approximately 50 million students in our nation's public schools, African-American students make up 15% of the total population.

Together, English learners and students with disabilities make up 24% of the student body. In renewing our commitment to civil rights, schools must address the unique needs of all students to thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Educational policies that recognize, honor, and support a student's race, religion, ability, sexual or gender orientation, or native language are a significant way to respect the civil rights of many students.

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5. Schools can't do it alone

Today's civil rights movement must be led by all caring and concerned adults. There are no bystanders at work to ensure that we adhere to our fundamental principles of equality and seeking opportunity. Access to the opportunity must not be determined or limited by a genetic code or zip code.

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However, educational opportunities must be supported by interagency policies and collaborative practices that result in successful students, productive citizens, and thriving communities across the country.

New laws and regulations must be enacted to improve access to safe and affordable housing for children and families, provide more employment opportunities for adults and youth, improve access to food and transportation, and reform criminal justice policies that would benefit people and communities restored.

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President Obama's proposal, Stronger Together (2016), is a step in the right direction. Stronger Together encourages schools and communities to create strong community-based voluntary plans to support local school districts and develop innovative strategies to achieve equity and high achievement. The creation of a complete infrastructure with adequate resources expands learning opportunities and fulfills the citizen's right of all students to an excellent education.

These are just a few important ways we can continue to work to ensure justice and strengthen communities and our country. We encourage everyone to find ways to use their time, talents, and treasures to support each child's learning and development.

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David J. Johns is Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Andrene Jones-Castro is a graduate intern with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and is a graduate student in education policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

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you can visitwww.ed.gov/afameducationfor additional information and sources of support.

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