60 years later and the influence of Little Rock Central High School is still influencing schools in America to do the right thing. In Georgia, there are still segregated proms and student activities. In a social studies class at my school, one of the scholars view of rural areas is that many of the citizen there voted for President Trump because that is the type of America they want. The larger perspective is we have to receive the view of opposition because we want everyone to have freedom of speech. Yes, we get freedom of speech but not hate speech. Hate speech is not acceptable ever. This country has empowered people like Donald Trump to spew hate speech and it’s empowered others to feel as if this type of behavior is okay.
Here’s why the Little Rock Central High integration influence is still relevant today:
Our children need equity just as much as equality. Too often our children don’t receive the resources and tools needed to achieve higher levels of success. It is our job to ensure the educational system provides children what they need based on their way of learning.
Separate and Unequal
The battle of the zip codes. In Atlanta you can see clear differences in the resources and educational impact between North and East schools to South and West schools. It’s not just the schools. It’s evident in economic development, small business support, community building, family development all which impact the success of schools. The stigmas and stereotypes of south and west schools also negatively impacts the vision people have of the schools. It is also used to further separate educational access for all students.
Working as a middle school Assistant Principal I am focused on ensuring our scholars are ready for high school. The middle school program must be structured, organized and well planned especially since these are critical and challenging years. The lessons learned here elevates the level of success our scholars will meet in high school. The middle school also begins the break of family engagement. It’s during these years that we need a lot of family and community engagement. We need parents, coaches, mentors and community supporters heavily involved to present positive images of success in all areas of life for our scholars. Readiness begins here just like the fundamental of learning begin in the elementary level. However our challenges is with teacher quality. Our schools still must advocate and fight for quality teachers. Teacher quality determines how prepared our scholars will be. It influences how stakeholders are engaged and most importantly is determines how the vision will be carried out.
As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Little Rock Central High Integration, we must continue to lift every voice, advocate for educational access, equity and equality for all of our children.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.