School Choice: An Enduring Legacy of Little Rock and the Civil Rights Struggle
Little Rock was center stage in America’s struggle to provide equal educational opportunity for all. In 1957, the Little Rock Nine led the desegregation of America’s public schools.
But today, the struggle still continues. Too many American children, particularly African–American and other minority students, are trapped in failing and often violent public schools.
“We didn’t fight to get into buildings. We fought to get a quality education,” says Virginia Walden Ford, née Fowler, one of the 135 black students leading a second wave of integration at Little Rock’s Central High School in 1966. “The idea that some people would force kids to stay in failing public schools makes no sense. School choice provides opportunities for children to get a quality education.”
Today, the civil rights struggle for educational opportunity continues in the fight for school choice. All parents should be empowered to choose a safe and effective school for their children.
And momentum is building. This year alone, 13 states have enacted parental choice in education legislation, creating or expanding programs that offer greater opportunity.
As we approach the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, we should recall his admonition: “1963 is not an end, but a beginning.” Indeed, the march for educational opportunity continues today.
Hear Virginia Walden Ford reflect on her fight for educational opportunity. Joined by Rod Paige, former Secretary of Education for George W. Bush, and Jennifer Marshall, Director of Domestic Policy at The Heritage Foundation, they will discuss the future of school choice and the vision of freedom and opportunity it offers.
- Date: Aug 22, 2011
- Location: Statehouse Convention Center
- Time: 9:30 a.m.
Address: 1 Statehouse Plaza
Little Rock, AR