Is Education the Civil Rights issue of our time?


In my search to understand important justice and human rights issues of our day, I continually find myself coming back to education.  I think so highly of the work and calling of teachers, principals, and administrators, and believe we need to do everything we can to support them and encourage the best of them to invest in under-served communities.

When I saw the title of this article, I was obviously intrigued.  It is from Urban Faith and looks at a new book entitled “The Black-White Achievement Gap,” written by Rod Paige.  The following quote is a summary statement of why he felt he could back up the bold nature of the title of the book:

“In today’s America, one would be hard pressed to identify a single area, in medicine, literature, music, the arts, business, or sports, in which African Americans have not ascended to the very top in their chosen fields. The swearing in of Barack Obama as the forty-fourth President of the United States of America is highly visible evidence that racism and discrimination no longer represent a ceiling to African American success. Educational underachievement is a much more powerful obstacle. There is a street saying that makes the point: Racism and discrimination can slow you down, but lack of education can knock you out. Enough said! To be sure, the black-white achievement gap is not the only obstacle standing in the way of racial equality and social justice. It is, however, the major barrier impeding progress for African Americans and primary civil rights issue of our time.”

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