Celebrating 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education

How far have we come?

Image courtesy of Kansas NEA.

Missouri NEA joins with NEA and its partners across the country to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision, striking down “separate but equal” segregation in America’s public schools. NEA’s series of public programs recognizes and honors the sacrifices of those who persevered to get the Brown case to the Supreme Court. 

It’s tragic that 60 years after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, we still haven’t achieved equality in public education. Equity is one of the cornerstones of America’s public education system. We must do more to ensure meaningful educational opportunity for all students.
  • The Supreme Court handed down the landmark Brown v. Board of Education 60 years ago. The Court’s decision outlawed segregation in the nation’s public schools, but it also resulted in other revolutionary changes in our nation—affecting everything from lunch counters, to buses, to voting rights.
  • Despite the vision of equal education opportunity handed down by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board in May of 1953, the concentration of poverty and racial isolation in our public schools has increased in recent decades.
  • NEA members are joining forces with other labor, community and civil rights organizations to commemorate the Brown v. Board decision and focus much needed attention on the national and moral imperative for equity in education.
  • While some of our students—most of them white and affluent— are receiving a world-class education that prepares them to succeed in life, students attending schools in high poverty

Increasingly, special interest groups and so-called education reformers are taking aim at the due process protections educators earn with demonstrated capabilities and years of experience in the classroom. Due process protections, or educators’ professional rights exist, not protect bad teachers, rather they exist to protect good educators and ensure fair treatment.
  • Quality education begins with caring and highly qualified educators. NEA continues to work to improve teaching and training methods for educators and make sure these professionals have the skills and knowledge needed to help ensure student success, mentoring programs that link new and experienced teachers, continuing education, and professional development.
  • There also is abundant evidence that education can be improved by reducing class sizes, providing students in high needs schools with additional resources, and making schools safer. Eliminating the professional rights of educators, often known as “tenure” or “seniority,” does nothing to address these pressing issues.
  • Still, special interest groups and so-called education reformers are taking aim at the due process protections of educators, claiming that eliminating the due process rights of educators will improve the quality of education. There is no evidence to support these claims.
  • In fact, as educators, we know that due process protections help to encourage bright and talented individuals to enter the teaching profession and remain in the profession once they are proven and experienced.
  • Efforts to eliminate educator due process protections are a distraction as we face countless challenges in trying to make sure all our students attend great public schools with highly effective teachers, reasonable class sizes, and strong parental and family engagement.
  • The truth is fair dismissal procedures do not prevent ineffective teachers from being fired – they prevent good teachers from being fired for bad reasons.
In our great nation, graduating from college should put young people on the path to the American Dream; instead many students are graduating from college with an average of $26,000 in loans. The issue of college affordability and student loan debt threatens the future for our young people and our nation as a world leader.
  • The dual threat of rising tuition and college debt is putting undue pressure on students and families and causing many high school students to reconsider applying to colleges and universities.
  • The issue of college affordability is very important to the entire NEA membership, but it’s of special concern to the 60,000 members of NEA’s Student Program. Our Student members are preparing to be the next generation of educators.
  • Young people should be able to go as far as their hard work and talents can take them, and we all lose when they can't because college is unaffordable. The extraordinarily excessive student loans facing young people are holding back our economy.
  • According to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the majority of 2013-14 graduates will leave school owing an average of $26,500 in student loans.
  • Total student loan debt in the U.S. currently stands at a staggering $1.2 trillion, surpassing total credit card debt.
  • NEA supports the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, legislation introduced by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to provide relief to some 40 million Americans struggling with student loan debt.
  • America is falling behind other countries — we once were top of the class, but now we’re middle of the pack behind countries like India and China that are out-investing us when it comes to education.

Related Articles: 

Equity and Opportunity for All

Educators prepare to observe anniversary of landmark school desegregation case

Educators Need to Speak Up Louder for School Equity, Says Civil Rights Expert

Posted Date: 5/13/2014
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