Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that guaranteed children of every race access to the same public schools as white children. No Child Left Behind fulfills the promise of Brown v. Board of Education by ensuring that every child in America receives a quality education once they enter the school building. The following are excerpts from President Bush’s speech at the opening of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan.:
"I'm honored to join you at this historic place, to mark a day and a decision that changed America for the better, and forever. Fifty years ago today, nine judges announced that they had looked at the Constitution and saw no justification for the segregation and humiliation of an entire race. Here at the corner of 15th and Monroe, and at schools like it across America, that was a day of justice -- and it was a long time coming."
"In many ways, the events of those years seemed long ago. We tend to think of them as the distant dramas of a different country. Yet, segregation is a living memory, and many still carry its scars. The habits of racism in America have not all been broken. The habits of respect must be taught to every generation. Laws against racial discrimination must be vigorously enforced in education and housing and hiring and public accommodations. Many African Americans with no inheritance but their character need access to capital and the chance to own and build for the future. And while our schools are no longer segregated by law, they are still not equal in opportunity and excellence. Justice requires more than a place in a school. Justice requires that every school teach every child in America."
"America has yet to reach the high calling of its own ideals. Yet we're a nation that strives to do right. And we honor those who expose our failures, correct our course, and make us a better people. On this day, in this place, we remember with gratitude the good souls who saw a great wrong, and stood their ground, and won their case. And we celebrate a milestone in the history of our glorious nation."
The complete transcript of President Bush’s speech is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/05/20040517-4.html
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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.
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