Confronting challenges of American education, 'civil rights' issue of our time

by Pedro Antonio Noguera

Special to CNN 'In America' blog May 24, 2012

For the Past 25 years I have been working as an educator, researcher and policy advocate.

I am also the parent of four children who have attended public schools.

In each of these roles I have tried to improve public education and advance the educational rights of children, particularly those who have historically been poorly served.

Given my background, I was pleasantly surprised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent assertion that education was "the civil rights issue of our time".

Romney is only the most recent politician to connect changes in education to civil rights.  Similar remarks have been made by President Obama as well.

Typically, the politicians who make such declarations link it to a call for reform.  Romney has chosen to connect his declaration to the issue of choice and vouchers.

The question is:  Why does Romney believe that simply by promoting school choice the problems that plague public education in America will go away?

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