What does 50 years mean to you?
I have only been alive for 47 years and I have little to no memory of the first 5- so let’s say I have about 42 years of memory. I have known, been aware of, studied, explored and celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech for each of those years. This week marks the 50th Anniversary of that day, that speech, that man.
That speech was the pinnacle of the Civil Rights Movement. Words sewn together so powerfully that everyone knows them; spoken in a way that evoked dreams of unity, equality, change, possibility, and hope for a better future. Every time I hear a recording or see a clip of that day, I get chills. That never changes for me. It still makes me believe that the world can be a better place and that each of us plays a part in making it come true.
So what does 50 years mean in terms of education?
1965 – Project Head Start is born
1968 – Title VII – Bilingual Education Act is ratified, replaced in 2002 by NCLB
1968- Magnet Schools (as a means to desegregate schools) are unveiled
1971- Pennsylvania rules that “retarded” children be entitled to a free education
1972 – The Indian Education Act is ratified
1972 – Title IX becomes the law of the land
1973 – Marian Wright Edelman founds the Children’s Defense Fund
1973 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act becomes law ensuring that all children needing special services are guaranteed those services.
1974 – The Equal Educational Opportunities Act is passed
1975 – The Education of all Handicapped Children Act (PL94-142) is passed
1975 – The National Association of of Bilingual Education is founded
1982 – The Supreme Court rules that banning books is unconstitutional
1990 – IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) renames and amends PL 94-142
1994 – Improving America’s Schools Act is signed by President Clinton
1995 – Georgia becomes the first state to offer universal preschool to all four year olds
2001 – No Child Left Behind becomes the law of the land
2002 – The North American Reggio Emilia Alliance formally launches an organization dedicated to promoting the Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood Education
2004 – The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act is passed, amending IDEA to reflect better research and understandings of serving children with differences
2009 – The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act launches The Race to the Top
2009 – The Common Core states initiative is launched
2011 – President Obama announces that states can request some flexibility in meeting the NCLB requirements
2012 – Washington and Wisconsin are granted waivers for NCLB bringing the grand total to 26.
2013 – The City of Chicago closes 50 public schools – the largest school closings in history
2013 – The City of Chicago lays off over 2100 school employees
This is a short list how the U.S. educational system is keeping Dr. King’s Dream alive.
How are you?