Brown v. Board and a New Generation

As we continue to observe this month’s 64th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down segregation in public schools, we must be mindful that much work still needs to be done on behalf of the millions of children growing and learning in our classrooms.

To quote Chief Justice Warren:

“In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he (or she) is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

I couldn’t agree more.

We are now at a time when our schools are being torn apart by gun violence. We’re at a time when more than 50 percent of the children attending our schools are living in impoverished conditions. We’re at a time when we must scale up the dialogue in our country that we view every public school as the foundation of our communities.

The success of the future leaders of this great country critically depends on the support given to public education. Quality public schools build the knowledge and skills young people need to succeed. As our public schools succeed, so, too, will our students, families and communities.

Conversely, during the horrific events that continue to disturb the peace, such as last week’s shooting at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas, last February’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., or last summer’s racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va., we are witness to attempts to tear down the essential fabric that serves as the centerpiece of society — our public schools.

As we continue to look back at what Brown v. Board of Education stood for, let’s never lose sight of the fact that an educated America is a better America. We must honor what this landmark decision meant. We must support public education. We must support the lives of every pre-k through 12th-grade student in our public schools regardless of race, gender, nationality, religion or socioeconomic status.