The Need for the Dream: 50 Years Later

Education is key to fulfilling Dr. King’s dream! Van Roekel  

50 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and there is still a need for us to fulfill his Dream in schools and communities across the Nation. Dr. King spoke of the importance education in the advanced of not only colored people, but all people. However, in 2018 parents, students and advocates are still working towards equitable academic, fiscal and operational resources needed for all students to succeed. We can fulfill the dream 50 years from now if we change the way in which we’re educating our youth.

Eight (8) Ways We Can Fulfill the Dream 50 years from now!

  1. Including service learning within school curriculum Pre K – 12 
  2. Beginning character education in Pre K – 12th and continuing advanced levels of this in higher education
  3. Advocating for diversity in school leadership (district/school level)
  4. Ensuring that there is diversity in the contractors who provide services to school districts
  5. Having more field studies/field trips to increase student exposure or cultures, careers and history
  6. Putting students in the forefront of educational advocacy
  7. Improving student engagement from higher education to primary education (mentoring, tutoring)
  8. Utilizing SEL to teach acceptance and tolerance

In 1947, Dr.King addressed in a short essay, The Purpose of Education!” After reading Dr. King’s short essay on education his question, “is education fulfilling its purpose?”, to me feels even more relevant now than ever. It’s not a question of is we are fulfilling the dream but how are we doing it effectively that matters. We need the Dream in 2018 and beyond to continue the work of equality, morality and progressive change through education to continue the progressive growth and change of America.

We need the Dream in 2018 and beyond for equality! 

“It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture.” Words penned by Dr. King in 1947 regarding equality in education. In a perfect society, equality and education would go hand in hand.  America’s history shows us from Jim Crow laws to segregation through the Brown vs the Board of Education and other cases fighting for equality in education that in America these two things simply don’t connect for all citizens. Dr. King urged Americans to work harder to ensure that all children, innocent souls, have a fair and equitable opportunity to learn in order for them to be a productive and fulfilled citizen. We’ve done a great job of gaining labor for citizens but we haven’t done a great job of empowering, compensating and providing equal opportunities for all citizens.

We need the Dream in 2018 and beyond for morality! 

“Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. Dr. King understood that success and education have a direct connection to achievement. The achievement of our goals becomes a reality through education. Our level of knowledge and understanding is elevated through education. Education is the key to success! Dr. King knew that whomever leads education influences what is taught. The entities that lead education truly have the power to change our society for better or worse. Educational ideals influence region, economics, health, law, art and culture. This ideal made education and urgent matter for Dr. King who cautioned us about the importance of education. His advocacy and writings show us how advancing education for all can help us continue to overcome the injustices that are deeply rooted in American heritage.  

We need the Dream in 2018 and beyond for progressive change! 

This generation will remember the words “Yes We Can” and equate them to “I Have a Dream!”  Youth will remember that President Barack Obama’s administration worked to ensure that all American’s felt empowered.  President Obama and leaders sought out to make America fulfill the call to action set forth by the Dream. Progressive change that the Dream spoke about became a movement led by educational advancement. The numbers of high school and college graduates increased, the focus on reaching more black and brown boys and decreasing the school to prison pipeline became a unified cause for all citizens, not just Black or brown citizens. Progressive change begins with the advancement and elevation of our youth’s minds. 50 years from now, our children should be able to look back and see how we changed the Dream into a reality for all. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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.

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