Sunday, August 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Education takes center stage at MLK event

MLK1W

Dana Vickers Shelley, director of public affairs for the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaks to a large crowd Monday at the 20th annual city of Davis Martin Luther King Day celebration. Projected on the screen behind her is the "Stone of Hope" sculpture, part of the MLK memorial in Washington, D.C., carved by artist Lei Yixinhe. The design for the sculpture of King with his arms crossed was inspired by a line from the famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | January 21, 2014 |

Despite advances by individual African-Americans recently, the health of diversity in America remains imperiled without equal access to quality education.

That was the message of a keynote speech from a representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center on Monday at the city’s free Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at the Varsity Theatre downtown.

According to speaker Dana Vickers Shelley and statistics from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, more than half a century after the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education destroyed the legal basis for racial segregation in America, an economic and demographic segregation is creeping in to take its place.

More and more, students of color are being taught in substandard schools without the means to hire the tutors and equipment to which wealthier students have access, Shelley said.

Because schools tend to be better in wealthier communities, poor minorities end up in lower-performing schools where residents cannot afford parcel taxes and PTA fundraising drives to make their schools better off. Without a good education, the good jobs of the 21st century drift out of reach for many minorities, who end up in poor neighborhoods and the cycle begins again.

“Schools in the United States are more segregated than they have been in four decades,” Shelley said, citing statistics from the Pew Research Center that showed 44 percent of public schools are dominated by minorities and two in five minority students attend “intensely segregated” schools based on income and race.

And according to the center, there is a general sense of a lack of racial progress since King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963; only 45 percent of Americans believe significant progress has been made since then.

That lack of confidence became more pronounced, Shelly said, when African-Americans were polled.

While access to quality education may be the key to solving modern racial woes, it is not a new issue, Shelley said. Slaves risked beatings and worse to learn how to read, then during the post-Civil War era, educated blacks set up African-American schools and colleges to try to attain racial parity with whites. Then, education was a key issue in the modern civil rights movement that saw figures like King arguing for more equal access to learning.

Shelley said more highly educated parents instill those values in their children, while less educated parents tend not to. She said she had no choice but to graduate from college because her parents were a librarian and a high school English teacher.

While separate drinking fountains and bathrooms for whites and minorities may be a thing of the past, equal application of school policies and law enforcement strategies have created a “schools-to-prison pipeline,” Shelley said, where relatively minor infractions are met with excessive legal punishment.

She gave the example of a youth in Florida who ate in the wrong lunch room and was formally charged with trespassing. Children like that often get expelled from school for acting like children, wind up in juvenile facilities or worse, then drop out of school because they lose hope, she said.

This is happening mostly in the South, but also in other states like Colorado.

Shelley also criticized school voucher programs, saying they gave unequal access to education on their face.

“I believe if he were alive today, Dr. King would demand true education for all children,” she said.

A panel of African-American representatives from UC Davis and Winfred Roberson, superintendent of the Davis Joint Unified School District, discussed the challenges facing minority youths in education. They largely agreed that economic forces are primarily blocking minorities from attaining the education they need.

“If you don’t have those resources to aid you and those parents pushing you, you are not going to make it,” said Ken Barnes, program coordinator of the UCD Internship and Career Center. He spoke of the difficulty of university science, technology, engineering and math programs that prepare students to fill the jobs that are most in demand.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

.

News

 
 
Davis audience hears from civil-rights hero

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Legislators wrap up with water, ethics, guns bills

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: This new kid might have a future

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Five U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
EU threatens Russia with more sanctions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Robbery, pursuit in Central Davis lead to one arrest

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Rotary clubs offer Davis High students some life lessons

By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Katehi will speak at Chamber’s community luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Bean Feed supports for Yolo Democrats’ activities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Bauer garden marks one year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Dinner will raise funds to help farmers in Burkina Faso

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Beamer Park featured at Stroll Through History

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Tuleyome Tales: Be safe on wilderness trails

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Small wineries suffer big losses in quake

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Grande site has been a convoluted saga

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
Say goodbye to summer with a ‘Final Blast’ at Explorit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Bay Bridge project’s rainy-day money is nearly gone

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A15 | Gallery

.

Forum

Already made herself at home

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Changing local election dates benefits Democrats

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

 
Ad-free email? You can still find it at Davis Community Network

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Keep our green waste piles

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
How to make a good living

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
City panel working to tighten scrutiny of taxpayer dollars

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

Try round-robin storytelling at crafts fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Marriage doesn’t mean we agree on everything

By Marion Franck | From Page: A14

This epidemic should scare us

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
.

Sports

Devils open with an impressive volleyball victory

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Stanford scores early, often in opener versus UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

New coach, new tougher league for DHS football

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Coach likes what she sees from Devil field hockey squad

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD notebook: Coaches positive about FCS schools ‘playing up’

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Aggie harriers secure season-opening sweep

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: Cats win late to pull even with Aces

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Comings and Goings: Is fro-yo craze melting?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Sutter Davis Hospital honored again as a ‘best place to work’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Engage3 attracts investment for shopping app

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

 
California growers can use MBI’s new bioinsecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

Sudwerk, Davis Food Co-op join for ‘co-hop-eration’ brew

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20 | Gallery

 
Community pools its purchasing power to reduce the cost of solar

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

Wanda P. Daley

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, August 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8