Week 7: Quality Education
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50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 7: Quality Education

Week seven 
Quality Education
Quality education has been a long established value in the civil rights movement.
Ruby Bridges, with new friends, a few months into her attendance at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. (Image: Alan Wieder Collection)
As early as the nineteenth century there have been cases of families challenging education inequity in their communities. One example is Ruby Bridges.  In 1960, first grader Ruby Bridges made history when she was the first African American student to integrate the William Franz Elementary School, a public school in New Orleans. Ruby Bridges was honored in 2015 with the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award.
The fight for education is more than an interest in the pursuit of knowledge. It is the recognition that education can fundamentally impact a person's quality of life and is a key factor for social mobility. In the ever changing political landscape it is hard to keep track of education laws and standards in the country.  In the United States, all children are entitled to equal access to basic public education, and secondary education regardless of their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, immigration status, citizenship or the status of their parents/ guardians. 
Take a look at this  fact sheet on the rights of all children to attend public schools. The information was published in 2014 by the Justice Department and the Department of Education.  It is based on the 1982 landmark Supreme Court decision Plyer v. Doe which mandated that states cannot deny children access to public education based on their immigration status. It also includes components of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
Simple steps in the fight for quality education.
  1. Learn about mentoring initiatives in your community like Big Brother Big Sisters.
  2. Consider donating your time or books to a local summer reading initiative.
  3. Are you confused about education inequity issues within your community?  Share with us the education issues you would like to learn more about on our 50 Weeks of Action Facebook Group page.
Quality Education for All
Quality education for all    means that all people can attend schools which prepare them for a successful future.
Equal education means that everyone gets the same things, like books, computers and clean schools.
Equitable education means that everyone gets what they need in order to succeed and achieve.
This picture shows the difference. 
Schools were once segregated, meaning that black and white students attended separate schools.

One hero that helped was Ruby Bridges. In 1960, she was the first African-American student to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.  

(All Ages)
To learn about Ruby Bridges watch Disney's Ruby Bridges in full here. 
(For Elementary Students)
of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
(For Middle School Students)
Go to your local library and check out Through 
My Eyes by Ruby Bridges.
To find out more about quality education, click  below.
Are you involved in a project or organization that is striving to educate and mentor youth and others can be apart of it? How has youth organizations that you know positively affected their lives? The next generations are our future leaders, so share your civil rights stories with us and help continue to pour into them.  #MLK50