The civil rights issue of our time

Current Events & News, Legislation, School Funding | 01/19/2015

Jonah Edelman
Chief Executive Officer

Jonah is the co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children.

Today, as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it has never been more clear that education is the civil rights issue of our time. We’ve come a long way as a country in the last 50 years. But the truth remains: We have a long way to go.

On Wednesday, a U.S. Senate Committee will be convening to discuss the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly known as No Child Left Behind -- a piece of legislation in desperate need of an overhaul that focuses on helping our most at-risk kids.

We need more resources for high-poverty schools, we need increased access to early childhood education, and we need a yearly check-up of our students through smart assessments to ensure children are receiving the education they deserve.

Don’t let the U.S. Senate gut the most important national education bill in our country’s history. Contact your U.S. Senators now and tell them to improve and strengthen No Child Left Behind to help our most at-risk kids.

Too many students, particularly children in poverty, children of color, English language learners and children with disabilities, are still falling through the cracks of our public school system. Districts and states are working diligently to create a level playing field for all children, but we need a strong federal partnership to hold states accountable for ensuring an equal education for every child, regardless of race, ethnicity or income.

This crisis requires a movement to match the dire and urgent needs of our nation’s children, not more of the same. Take a look at our country’s graduation rates, for example:

Fewer than 10% of low-income children earn a four-year college degree compared to 80% of upper-income students.

Tell your U.S. Senators today that the status quo is no longer acceptable. We need an improved No Child Left Behind law to put the next generation of students on the path to success.

Equality -- true equality -- isn’t just about race or income. It’s about ensuring that all people have an equal opportunity to achieve success. And by nearly every measure in America today, that means having access to a high quality education.

The celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. evokes strong emotions in my family. My brothers and I were raised with a powerful sense of justice, equality and boldness – values that I strive to embody and fight for through my life’s work with Stand for Children.

So join me in calling on the Senate to do the right thing for kids.

Thank you for standing with me.

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