It should be noted that many of these detractors have not had to deal with the humiliations and onslaughts that have greeted these students on a daily and ongoing basis. One can only wonder how many of those who are denouncing these brave and courageous students would have the wherewithal and fortitude to withstand such mistreatment.
I asked the kids how people they meet explain Elmont Memorial High School's high academic achievement, and they said, in one voice, "They think we're cheating." One student said, using words I would have hoped would never be used by a young person, "I feel we have to work harder and do better than other students just to get the same respect, because we're African-American."
For the first time in 13 years, the DOE now makes clear that states, school districts, and schools must make education resources equally available to all students without regard to race, color, or national origin. This is some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement and a giant step forward for poor children, often children of color.