“We’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check,” Martin Luther King, Jr. said in the “I Have a Dream” speech. The founders of the United States had signed a metaphorical promissory note that guaranteed equal rights for all people, he said.
“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned,” King concluded.
The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) survey released June 7 by the Department of Education reveals that for students of color, the U.S. school system continues in a state of default.
The CRDC surveys all public schools and school districts in the U.S. as part of an effort to provide equal educational opportunity. The most recent survey provides information on the 2013-2014 school year.
Included among the findings are data on out-of-school suspensions — for preschoolers. According to the CRDC, black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to be suspended as white preschoolers.
The survey also asked about the presence of police officers on campuses, as well as the availability of school guidance counselors. They found that 1.6 million students attend a school with a police officer, but without a guidance counselor, a situation that is more likely to occur to Latino, Asian, and black students than it is to white students.
Brown v. Board of Education may have struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine in court, but 62 years later, students of color are still waiting to cash the long-promised check of equality.