(NNPA)—For the first time in our nation’s history, the majority of students in public schools are students of color. But in most places, communities of color still have little meaningful say in how their states manage and resource education. As a result, too many students in this new majority are in overcrowded classes and inadequate facilities where teachers are overworked, underpaid, and stuck with a curriculum that lacks rigor and relevance.
All students deserve the opportunity to learn and work hard in a healthy environment with excellent teachers, but even 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education, our nation is reeling from the unfulfilled promise of an equal education for all. Educational equity is vital to our nation; two-thirds of all future jobs will require some level of higher education and research suggests that within the next 10 years, our economy will face a deficit of 11 million skilled workers. Continuing policies that fail to prepare all students for college and careers is an immoral and self-defeating choice that stunts our nation’s economic potential—and mocks our democratic ideals.
But now there’s an opportunity for states, districts and schools to make a better choice. The Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law Congress passed late last year, requires that parents and communities be meaningfully engaged in determining how states equitably educate their children.