Higher education leaders and policy makers must adjust to serve the students of the (very near) future, or risk failing in the responsibility to produce an educated citizenry and workforce capable of success.
From my decades in education, I know that the status quo is powerful. The temptation to say "no" is strong. Opportunities to be truly bold and open up new paths to progress are rare. That's why a victory by the plaintiffs in Vergara v. California would be so important.
If America is to reverse the downward trend of achievement, we must focus relentlessly on rigorous content and instruction, and enable learners to understand that intelligence is not consigned by their genes, but something they must work hard to develop in their heads.
When communities are able to integrate their classrooms, students are more able to learn the most important lesson American education provides -- the respect for and commitment to continuing the diverse social mosaic that has distinguished our country for generations.
So there I stood, absolutely mesmerized watching my five-year-old son adroitly maneuver through a complicated, life-like, labyrinth of activity and nefarious characters to accomplish his mission while sipping a juice box.
The students I hope to reach have over-worked parents who will in all probability cannot spare the time to read this. Many of these students don't have access to computers. Many of these parents might not even read English.
Today's inequities in access to quality jobs, education, health care, housing, and voting bear much resemblance to those of 50 years ago, and nowhere are these persistent inequities more evident than our nation's schools and colleges.
My memories are as vivid today as they were on that day of hope and simmering emotions. A young boy at the time, I brought to the March painful memories of the discrimination I experienced along with others of color.
The notion of a white girl getting hauled off to jail for a harmless expression of intellectual curiosity is dubious, to say the least. And though the rise of "zero tolerance" policies in American schools should theoretically be race-neutral, that's not the reality.
In the mid-1990s, the school district I work for informed all the high schools that they were no longer allowed to teach basic math. Math teachers who challenged the ruling were told that they were expressing a racist point of view.
Three attributes, which are non-existent in many urban schools today, pervaded my school environment: a humanized educational environment; teachers who believed in us and expected us to learn; and punishment, which was not as a means to criminalize students for adolescent behavior.
While we clearly need to improve college completion rates across the board, one group that is of special interest to policymakers is minority students -- largely first-generation, low-income, and urban -- whose college completion rates continue to fall well below the average.