Save the Date: School Choice and Civil Rights Panel in Little Rock, August 22

Can’t get enough school choice and education reform talk? Then mark your calendar for Monday, August 22, when the Heritage Foundation hosts a special panel discusion in Little Rock on “School Choice: An Enduring Legacy of Little Rock and the Civil Rights Struggle.”

The event will focus on how today’s effort to expand educational opportunity by offering parents more freedom to choose what’s best for their children is a natural outgrowth of the 20th century civil rights struggle. Speakers include

    • Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige;
    • Jennifer Marshall, director of domestic policy studies for Heritage; and
    • Virginia Walden Ford, a visiting fellow at Heritage and a Little Rock native who was part of the second wave of integration in Little Rock schools in the 1960s.

Kick-off is at 9:30 a.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. There’s no charge for the event, and you can register online here. More info follows below at the jump. Do not miss it!

Rod Paige, Jennifer Marshall and Virginia Walden Ford in Little Rock, August 22, 2011
Paige, Marshall and Ford talk school choice in Little Rock, August 22, 2011

The Heritage Foundation presents “School Choice: An Enduring Legacy of Little Rock and the Civil Rights Struggle”

Little Rock was center stage in America’s struggle to provide equal educational opportunity for all. In 1957, the Little Rock Nine led the desegregation of America’s public schools.

But today, the struggle still continues. Too many American children, particularly African–American and other minority students, are trapped in failing and often violent public schools.

”We didn’t fight to get into buildings. We fought to get a quality education,” says Virginia Walden Ford, née Fowler, one of the 135 black students leading a second wave of integration at Little Rock’s Central High School in 1966. “The idea that some people would force kids to stay in failing public schools makes no sense. School choice provides opportunities for children to get a quality education.”

Today, the civil rights struggle for educational opportunity continues in the fight for school choice. All parents should be empowered to choose a safe and effective school for their children.

And momentum is building. This year alone, 13 states have enacted parental choice in education legislation, creating or expanding programs that offer greater opportunity.

As we approach the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, we should recall his admonition: “1963 is not an end, but a beginning.” Indeed, the march for educational opportunity continues today.

Hear Virginia Walden Ford reflect on her fight for educational opportunity. Joined by Rod Paige, former Secretary of Education for George W. Bush, and Jennifer Marshall, Director of Domestic Policy at The Heritage Foundation, they will discuss the future of school choice and the vision of freedom and opportunity it offers.

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