Yohuru Wiliams and Marla Kilfoyle explain here why reformers today are not entitled to claim the legacy of the civil rights movement. Their essay was written to mark the 50th anniversary of what was known as Freedom Summer, when advocates for civil rights risked their lives to advance the cause of freedom and equality.
They begin their essay:
“One of the more disturbing narratives employed by corporate education reformers, who support both Teach for America and the Common Core, is the claim that they are cast in the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement—specifically in the use of education as a tool to challenge economic and political inequality. The larger claim of the Common Core defenders is that it will close the achievement gap. Their rhetoric is that CCSS will increase “rigor” and make children “college and career ready.” The idea that a set of standards can erase child poverty…
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