Press Release

Statement from Sonja Brookins Santelises, The Education Trust's Vice President for K-12 Policy And Practice

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2014) — Today, the Office of Civil Rights sent a strong message that equity matters, and The Education Trust applauds their leadership. The “Dear Colleague” letter is a reminder that federal law requires more than good intentions to ensure the equitable provision of educational resources for students of color. It is not enough to rest upon laws, policies, and principles that are not enforced. Benign neglect is not acceptable.

While I can tell you as a former district administrator that nobody sat around in district offices plotting how to make sure that privileged students get more than their fair share of our best resources, the fact that too few sit around plotting how to undo that very pattern is deeply troubling. At some point, unintentional discrimination becomes intentional, and we are long past that point.

Far too many students of color are deprived access to their fair share of strong teachers, high-level academic courses, and basic resources, such as modern school facilities and access to technology. This must stop. We look to the Department of Education to enforce the law and hold states, districts, and schools accountable for equitably educating all children in this country.