Posted: March 15, 2012 in Education, Justice, Legal, Race, Social

Like President Obama, I too believe education is the most important civil rights issue of our generation. I totally agree, as he stated at the 2009 NAACP convention, “there’s a reason the story of the civil rights movement was written in our schools….It’s because there is no stronger weapon against inequality and no better path to opportunity than an education that can unlock a child’s God-given potential.” It is especially important that members of our African-American communities receive and clearly understand this important information.

What is so refreshing is that under the direction President Obama’s and Education Sec. Arnie Duncan, Attorney Russlynn Ali as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has substantially increased the enforcement of all anti-discrimination laws that relate to education — including the unprecedented step of proactively opening 60 investigations based on the agency’s own research, utilized and made accessible specific data to highlight areas of concern, and allowed individual states to be rewarded for innovation and accountability by receiving federal grants through the President’s Race to the Top program.

In other words, President Obama put his “money where his mouth was.” I applaud him and his staff, including Russlynn Ali and do not believe this administration is getting enough positive attention for their steadfast protection of the right to quality education in this nation.

In America

Editor’s note: Russlynn Ali is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.  She was a teacher, an attorney and worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, and she has also taught law at the University of Southern California Law Center.  Ali was appointed to the Department of Education by President Barack Obama in 2009.

By Russlynn Ali, Special to CNN

(CNN) — If a society based on the ideal of fundamental equality is to fulfill its promise, it cannot afford to look away when confronted with stark inequity.  Last week, the Department of Education released a trove of data from Part II of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), a self-reported survey of more than 72,000 schools that serve 85 percent of the nation’s students.

The findings demand our attention.

This survey quantified how school resources are distributed in schools and districts; whether in…

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