New York State Education Commissioner John King used the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education to defend the Common Core standards and their stated purpose of ridding schools of inequality. King criticized Common Core opponents as supporting continued segregation and inequality in schools.
According to WAER, King, speaking at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany last week, said that without the Common Core standards in schools, inequality is drifting back toward the days of Linda Brown, the named plaintiff in the 1954 Supreme Court case that ultimately led to the ruling that outlawed separate schools for black and white students.
“What those who resist higher standards are really saying is that some kids just aren’t going to make it and that’s acceptable. It’s not, it’s not acceptable,” King said. “It’s an assault on the values of America. It’s also in the end shortsighted because society bears the cost of a permanent underclass, under-prepared for the 21st century economy.”
“And 60 years after Brown we should not be able to point to schools in a single neighborhood, where one school serves mostly poor students and achieves painfully discouraging results and another school, blocks away, serves mostly affluent students and puts them on the path to success,” said King. “That kind of segregation, that is a disgrace.”
In a letter to colleagues posted to the Engage NY website, King wrote, “Just 58 percent of African-American and Latino students graduate from high school in New York compared to 86 percent of white students.”
King added that he hoped to move his state “toward the vision of Brown v. Board of Education,” by “restructuring school funding formulas to promote greater equity,” encouraging “greater socioeconomic and racial integration,” spending more on “bilingual education,” and “passing the New York State Dream Act so that undocumented students can go to college.”
“We cannot stand by while inequality persists,” King wrote. “We cannot ignore the staggering differences in educational outcomes among our children of different races and backgrounds.”