By CEA President Sheila Cohen
Public schools are the foundation of equal opportunity in our democracy. Schools that proudly educate all students level the playing field and provide opportunities to all children, regardless of their backgrounds.
There is no day more appropriate to remember these important truths. Today marks the fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Education was among the goals of the 1963 march, and, in 2013, we remain committed to fighting for equity in our public schools.
As we continue to work to fulfill the dream we must commit to
- Providing adequate funding and resources that are essential to delivering rigorous standards for students and achieving high outcomes.
- Investing in high-quality early childhood education, which research shows closes achievement gaps and lowers drop-out rates.
- Ensuring that all teachers are well trained and supported by effective school and district leaders.
- Reducing the concentration of poverty and racial isolation in our public schools, which has increased in recent decades.
As Dr. King said in his famous speech
We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
I wish you luck as you head back to school. Below please find some resources for teaching about the fiftieth anniversary of the march.
- Anti-Defamation League – From I Have a Dream to Dreamers United: 50 Years Later, How Far Have We Come?
Resources and a 3-part lesson plan for high school students that examines the current debate about the state of civil rights, racial discrimination and who “belongs” in the U.S., within the context of the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech.
- PBS NewsHour – 8 Resources for Teaching the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
Resources and lessons plans covering topics such as “I Have a Dream” as a work of literature, racial equality – How far have we come and how far do we still need to go?, and a mathematical representation of the march.
- Life.Time.com – Color Photos of the March on Washington, August 1963: Power to the People
A selection of color photos of the march – most of which never ran in LIFE magazine. Many show faces of those in the crowd attending the march.
- NEA – Teaching About the 1963 March on Washington
Lesson plans, background resources, audio, and videos for grades K-12.