From segregation to school choice

Howard Fuller
Howard Fuller

In the 60 years since the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the mission to offer every student equal access to a free and quality public education has made great strides. But there’s more work to do, say education advocates gathering this week for National School Choice Week.

More than a dozen groups representing everything choice – from charters to religious schools to district virtual schools – will meet Jan. 30 in Coral Springs, Fla., for a panel discussion reflecting on the historic Supreme Court ruling and whether its vision is being fulfilled.

Brown was an important part of the struggle to end legal discrimination but today “we have a different problem,” longtime school choice supporter Howard Fuller said in an email to redefinED. “Children of low income and working class Black families are trapped in schools that are not providing them with a quality education. Integration is not the lever of power that is needed at this point in history.”


The Florida event is one of 5,500 taking place during the fourth annual celebration of educational opportunity.

Speakers include Fuller, a distinguished professor and board chairman of the Black Alliance for Educational Options; Georgia Rep. Alisha Morgan, a Democrat and school choice supporter; T. Willard Fair, a civil rights activist and the youngest chapter president in the history of the Urban League; Julio Fuentes, president of the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options; Rabbi Moshe Matz, director of Agudath Israel of Florida; Vincent Boccard, mayor of the city of Coral Springs; and Jonathan Hage, founder, president, chairman and chief executive officer of Charter Schools USA.

The event is hosted by Florida Alliance for Choices in Education (FACE), a roundtable of school choice and parental empowerment organizations that work to expand and strengthen educational options. Partners include Step Up For Students, the nonprofit that administers the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (and co-hosts this blog); Florida Charter School Alliance;;  Charter Schools USA; Coral Springs Charter School; Florida Virtual School; McKay Coalition; HCREO; Agudath Israel of Florida: StudentsFirst; Pasco eSchool; National Institute for Educational Options; and K12 Inc.

The event will be held at the Coral Springs Charter School, 3205 N. University Drive, Coral Springs, 33065. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. with the discussion at 6:15 p.m. For more information, email FACE director Wendy Howard, [email protected]

You’ll be able to watch a live webcast of the event here on the blog. You can also follow via Twitter @redefinedonline. Search for #SCW and #FLchoice.

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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.