While the current U.S. economy continues to improve, there is one area that is still feeling the squeeze from the recession years: K-12 public school spending. Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 34 states are contributing less funding on a per student basis than they did prior to the recession years. This is a particular blow to areas with high rates of poverty.

Education may very well be the single most important ingredient in allowing a person to achieve success in life. The ascendancy of each individual defines the prosperity of our society; education is the backbone of a continuously developing society.

While the social climate of any school is complex enough, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender, or LGBT, students have additional barriers to overcome. Dealing with discrimination toward LGBT students is a very real concern for teachers and though students have come a long way, they can still be cruel to those that they perceive as different.

Activism when it comes to public K-12 education is flourishing. After some thought, I came up with the most impactful things (in no particular order) that education activists have done in the past few years when it comes to K-12 education:

Many who are concerned with education reform in the U.S. look to Asian education systems as the model to follow. Whether for cultural, economic or political reasons, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and other Asian nations are widely considered to be societies that get public education right.

Can public schools thrive in a school choice environment? I think so, yes. Options like charter, magnet, private, online and homeschool curricula are not meant to undermine the nation's public schools but to build them up through shared quality standards.

Depending who you ask, kids everywhere are giving up on education before they obtain a diploma and the situation has never been worse. But is it really that bad? Is the state of the high school dropout rate in the U.S. deserving of the "crisis" label?

While there has been significant progress in narrowing prejudices and racism throughout the nation, we still have a long way to go before we can declare true equality. One of the most glaringly obvious examples of our failures when it comes to true quality of life centers on Black men in America—who begin as Black boys in our K-12 classrooms.

The African American population is the only one in the U.S. where more women are employed than men, representing nearly 54 percent of Black workers in 2011. While this may not seem like a bad thing when it comes to the important role of women in the workplace, the stat is more a statement on the dismal performance of Black men in the workforce than it is a reflection of the women's success. Black men carry the highest unemployment rates, year after year, and represent a large percentage of Americans in poverty. If we know this, then why isn't ...

As Black male educators, we embrace the intensive diligence in being able to provide Black youth that we find in our midst the tools that it takes to navigate through a world where percep-tions outside of their own control can play a role in their ability to return home at night. In our own livelihoods, we live underneath the same burden. We find solidarity within those moments that extend well beyond the school day. We can pinpoint moments where those in authority looked at us in deficit as if we could never be enough. We call upon educators to make ...


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