Civil rights' new challenge: Closing the educational achievement gap (Opinion) | NJ.com: As we mark the half-century anniversary of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act this month, it is a tribute to our progress that today’s millennial generation finds the segregation, government-backed discrimination and denial of democratic rights that preceded it barely comprehensible.
Yet too many Americans — especially the urban poor who are overwhelmingly of color — cannot escape the hopelessness that comes with poverty and unemployment, the sting of discrimination, and the barriers to opportunity imposed by social neglect and urban conditions beset by violence. The stubborn persistence of these social ills is a stain on our society, and the civil rights challenge of our time.
One of the first targets of the civil rights movement was public education, with its segregated schools, unequal resources and poverty of aspiration for African-American students. But public school integration led to a new form of segregation. Today, the nation’s urban public schools fail our society’s most vulnerable children on an extraordinary scale.