Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Education as a Civil Rights Issue

I have heard comments about American education, calling it the civil rights issue of our time. Well, it looks like some civil rights groups are doing just that, taking an independent stand from the teachers' unions on the matter of NCLB.

Given that most people, and importantly most states, concur in the concept that educaiton is a right, even if there is not an actual statement to that effect in the laws, the fact that we have disparate treatment of students in different circumstances is a civil rights issue.

Of course, what to do about remains a matter of some discussion. Yet, the civil rights groups agree, gutting the remediation of schools provisions in NCLB or its sucessor is not the way to go about doing it.
Civil rights groups have begun a welcome attack on a House bill that would temporarily exempt the states from the all-important accountability requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law in 2002. The attack, led by powerful groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, was unexpected, given that the nation’s two big teachers’ unions actually hold seats on the conference’s executive committee. Recent events suggest that the civil rights establishment generally is ready to break with the teachers’ unions and take an independent stand on education reform.

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