August 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Education 50 Years After ‘I Have a Dream’

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wash 63Public education remains the civil rights issue of our time

This Wednesday, August 28, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the event at which Martin Luther King delivered the historical ‘I have a dream’ speech. In his speech, King spoke of his longing for a day in which his children might “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

This line is particularly relevant to public school students in Chicago, a city that many look upon as an example of the inequity that remains in public education. Earlier this summer, members of the school community took the district to court, claiming that the district’s budget cuts and proposed school closures unfairly targeted African-American students.

A controversial budget was approved on Wednesday. Hundreds of students marched outside the main office of CPS, holding signs that demanded the reinstatement of music classes, extracurriculars, and classes in recently closed schools.

In honor of the March, the Economic Policy Institute released a report on Wednesday that found that public schools today are actually more segregated than schools during Dr. King’s time. Without a doubt, we have achieved many improvements in the past 50 years. But it is also certain that significant civil rights issues remain in today’s public education system.