Marc H. Morial

Recent Articles

National Urban League endorses Common Core State Standards

Part two: Closing the achievement gap
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Contributing Writer

 

Sixty years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling ending segregation in America’s public schools, separate and unequal is still a pervasive reality. While de jure, or legal segregation has been abolished, de facto, or the actual practice of segregation, is greater now than it was 40 years ago. Black and Brown students are less likely to share classrooms with White students. We also see separate and unequal levels of expectations and resources in our schools that continue to break down along the color line. The unfortunate result of all of this is a widening achievement gap between the races. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

National Urban League endorses common core state standards — Here’s why (part one)

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Contributing Writer

 

“You can’t allow 15,000 school boards to home bake their own little standards subject to their own political pressures and think we are going to have international competitiveness. We have to at least have some bare minimum core standards if our young people are going to compete.” — Congressional Black Caucus member, Rep. Bobby Scott

 

There is a quiet, yet increasingly disruptive, revolution underway in American education. Since 2010, 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense have adopted Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their schools. This represents an historic opportunity to raise academic standards and better prepare students for college and good jobs. If implemented effectively, CCSS will help bridge the achievement gap by leveling the playing field so that all students, regardless of race, geography or income, have an equal shot at gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century global economy. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Black History Month: now more than ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“There is no more powerful force than a people steeped in their history. And there is no higher cause than honoring our struggle and ancestors by remembering.” — Lonnie Bunch, founding director, National Museum of African American History and Culture

 

Ever since the 2009 election of Barack Obama as America’s first Black president and the 100th anniversary of the National Urban League in 2010, the perennial debate about the need for Black History Month has intensified. Some have questioned the need for a special month to recognize the many unknown and unsung achievements of African Americans. With Obama as president, the logic goes, we have now achieved Dr. King’s dream of a non-racial America where everyone is judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I wish it were so. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Holder and Duncan reform outdated school discipline policies

 

 

By Marc H. Morial
Guest Commentator

“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct.” — Eric Holder, United States Attorney General

 

On January 8, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to Baltimore’s historic Frederick Douglas High School to announce a comprehensive set of guidelines to tackle the problem of “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies in our schools. As the National Urban League and others have been pointing out for years, students of color and students with disabilities receive disproportionately more and markedly harsher punishments for the same misbehaviors as other students. This obviously discriminatory treatment is not only denying an education to thousands of minority students, it is funneling too many of them into the criminal justice system and feeding the school-to-prison pipeline. According to data collected by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, African American students without disabilities are more than three times as likely as their White peers without disabilities to be expelled or suspended. The New York Times, in its Sunday editorial, called the treatment of disabled students “a national disgrace.” The Times cites a finding by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California that “in ten states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware and Illinois, more than a quarter of black students with disabilities were suspended in the 2009-10 school year.”

The National Urban League has long stood with parents and others who have challenged so-called “zero-tolerance” policies that have unfairly targeted students of color and done more harm than good in many public schools. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Washington football team should drop the “R” word

 

Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“At a moment when President Obama and Republican leaders remain deeply divided, this week saw them come to a bipartisan agreement on one thing: It is time for Washington’s NFL team to stop using a racial slur and to finally change its name” — Oneida Indian Nation radio ad. This past Sunday, as Dallas and Washington revived their annual NFL football rivalry, they also found themselves in the middle of an escalating fight over the name of the Washington football team. In fact, as part of its “Change the Mascot” campaign; the Oneida Indian Nation is running radio ads in Dallas and the other cities where the Washington football team is playing this year calling for DC’s team to drop the “R” word from its name. This is all part of a larger movement among civil rights organizations and political leaders from both the left and right who correctly point out that the term “Redskins” is a racial slur. Suzan Shown Harjo, a Native American woman who lives in Washington and directs the Morning Star Institute, has been leading this fight and others like it since the 1960s. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

New Fed chair must be a proponent of Main Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“The Federal Reserve Chairman is not only one of the most important economic policymakers in America, he or she is one of the most important policymakers in the world.” — President Barack Obama

Welcome to the season of big decisions in Washington. In the coming days, President Obama will have to decide whether to order a military strike against the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons against its own people. Time is also running out for Congress and the administration to agree on a budget to avoid an October 1 government shutdown, and lawmakers are on the line to raise the debt ceiling to keep the nation from defaulting on its financial obligations. In the midst of all of this, the president must decide whom to pick for one of the most important jobs in the world — chairman of the Federal Reserve. “The Fed,” as it is commonly called, is the central bank of the United States, responsible for setting monetary policy and credit conditions in support of full employment and stable prices. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

March on Washington revisited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us.” — Representative John Lewis at the 50th anniversary March on Washington

 

Last weekend tens of thousands of citizens from around the country converged at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and to dedicate themselves to a continuation of the fight for jobs, voting rights and a host of other challenges that are having a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other communities of color. Just as 50 years ago the National Urban League was on the front lines of last week’s March activities, I had the honor of addressing the multitude from the same location that Dr. King and Whitney Young did during the 1963 March. Approximately 5000 Urban Leaguers and friends marched with us to the Lincoln Memorial in a pre-march rally. We came in full force. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,