FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Urges Communities of Color to Demand Accountability and Better Schools
Sixty years after the historic Supreme Court decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case that declared segregation in public education unconstitutional, many of New York State’s schoolchildren of color remain isolated in lower-performing schools, according to State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. In a speech at Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, King called on communities of color to demand better schools that are accountable for helping all students learn. This Saturday, May 17th marks the 60th anniversary of the Court’s decision.
“[I]f we don’t hold ourselves accountable – and if we don’t demand transparency around student achievement – and if we don’t challenge ourselves to give our kids the very best education possible… The adults won’t lose… Only the children will lose.” King said.
King, the first African-American and first Puerto Rican Commissioner of Education in New York, pointed out that, in New York State:
Assemblymember Karim Camara, chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, introduced King at the event.
King called on legislators, civil rights leaders and communities of color to speak out in favor of higher standards for teaching and learning. King warned that many of the voices attacking higher standards “have done so with false narratives” and would “deny us the talents of all Americans – talents that are desperately needed to keep America strong and growing in this new century.”
King outlined an ambitious opportunity agenda for New York schools to move the state toward the vision of Brown v. Board of Education:
King added, “We cannot stand by while inequality persists. We cannot ignore the staggering differences in educational outcomes among our children of different races and backgrounds. That’s not America. We are one people, one society, and one nation and when we raise our voices together in pursuit of our common values we can produce a sound that is greater than all of those voices of fear, defeat and retreat.”
Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, praised King's call to action.
"We must work to fulfill the promise of Brown v. Board of Education," Rice said. "High standards and accountability will help us better ensure that all students can have the educational opportunity they deserve."