NAACP To Renew Call To End Racial Disparities In Education

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will renew its call to end racial disparities in the nation's public schools and institutions of higher education during the 5th Biennial Daisy Bates Education Summit, May 16-19 in Atlanta. Nationwide responses to its Call For Action will also be released at the summit being held at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel. This year's theme is "Advocacy, Achievement, Accountability: A Look at Public Education in America."

The NAACP launched its unprecedented national campaign to end racial disparity in education last November. NAACP units in all 50 states identified educational agencies and distributed The Call For Action identifying areas where consistent racial educational disparities have existed. The document requested that the educational institutions submit a five-year education equity plan to the NAACP by May 10, 2002. The plan should outline the steps that each institution would take to reduce the disparities by at least 50% over the next five years. The Call For Action was issued to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Rodney Paige, secretaries of education from all 50 States, college and university board of regents and local school districts throughout the United States.

The four-day summit will be attended by many of the nation's leading authorities on public education. Some of the program session highlights include: The Implications of the Minority Achievement Gap with moderator Lezlie Baskerville, VP Government Relations, The College Board and panelists Dr. Kimberley Edelin Freeman, Director, Frederick Patterson Research Institute and Dr. Gary Orfield, Co-Director, Harvard Civil Rights Project; a roundtable discussion titled The Role of the Press in Developing Community Partnerships for Educational Reform moderated by Julianne Malveaux, Economist/Entrepreneur with panelists Henry Duvall, Director of Communications, Council of the Great City Schools; Nat LaCour, Executive Vice President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Dr. Ramona Edelin, Executive Director, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, DeWayne Wickham, columnist, USA Today and Gannet News Service, and George Curry, Editor-in-Chief, National Newspaper Publishers Association.

A town hall meeting titled Educating Black America in the 21st Century: A Call for Action, hosted by with Ed Gordon, BET Tonight, will be held at Clark University. Panelists at the town hall meeting include Judge Greg Mathis, Talk Show Host, Judge Mathis Show; Dr. Michael Casserly, Executive Director, Council for the Great City Schools and Dr. Howard Fuller, Chairman, Board Directors, Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO).

NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume will deliver remarks, as will NAACP Education Director John Jackson, and NAACP Board of Directors members Maxine Smith, National Education Committee Chair and Adora Obi Nweze, Daisy Bates Education Summit Chair.

The Education Summit honors the late-Daisy Bates, former president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP and advisor in 1957 to the Little Rock Nine, the students who braved hostile opponents of integration to Central High School. Several members of the Little Rock Nine will attend the Summit.

The Summit commemorates the 48th Anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision (May 17,1954), the landmark Supreme Court decision ending legal segregation in public schools and furthers the NAACP's goal of helping to ensure a quality education as a civil right in the 21st Century.

The Daisy Bates Summit will conclude its final day with a Civil Rights Leader's Prayer Breakfast where Rev. Julius Hope, NAACP Director of Religious Affairs, will serve as Master of Ceremony. The guest speaker will be Rev. Timothy McDonald, President, African-American Minister's Leadership Council.

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