Two weeks ago today marked the 60th anniversary of the historical Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision which outlawed segregated public schools. This May 17, 1954 Supreme Court ruling became the “most momentous and far-reaching” in the history of civil rights.
In reflecting on this historic anniversary, President Obama said, “We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise.” Today, 60 years later, let us as a community reflect on our enduring struggle — equal, high-quality educational opportunities for all children as we all must be held accountable in this all-important business of education.]
Once again, Sampson County school systems have some great students, dedicated teachers, competent leadership staff and concerned parents, with strong community support. And with his excitement and enthusiasm, the new superintendent of Sampson County Schools, Dr. Eric Bracy, seems to be taking that school system in the right director. In realizing the need to fulfill the promise of equitable, high-quality education for all, Dr. Bracy remarked in a recent news article, “We aren’t where we all want to be yet, but the key is we are working toward that every day.”
On the value of education and the importance of staying in school, Bracy said, “If it’s taken seriously, then it will not matter where you come from, what your race is, what your economic background is, you will succeed. You can be whatever you dream about being.” So, parents and student advocates, let’s encourage our children to dream big and to have the fortitude to reach them, removing obstacles to drive, determination and a willingness to work hard.
Leading by example, Dr. Bracy also stated, “It will take our teachers, our parents, our community members, all of us telling our success stories over and over again so that kids understand that they, too, can achieve.” Unfortunately, we have too many students who don’t know what success looks like. And there are schools with too many teachers expecting no progress in their students, succumbing to the notion that this generation has no strong work ethic. Folks, let’s get behind our county schools superintendent and support his message, making him a great role model.
On this historical anniversary, let this be the time we all take greater interest in the education of all children, giving every child ” a shot at a decent future.” If we believe all children can learn, then why are we not doing more to ensure they do?
We all can play a part in making each school a more effective school, making all students “feel excited about their the future” and remaining “committed to building the strengths of each student.” We should never let any students feel that we have given up on their ability to learn.
Our schools need to be places where all students feel honored, respected and valued, places where learning and teaching are made relevant and meaningful to all students, and places that find ways to engage every child in learning. If we believe all students can learn, let’s create opportunities for them to fully engage in the teaching and learning environment.
Lastly, it is critically important for teachers to be cautious about making assumptions, remembering that students are individuals who “function best when they know the time and place for everything.”