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.
If the Supreme Court decides in favor of Abigail Fisher and opponents of race-based affirmative action are sincere in their advocacy of a class-based approach, we encourage universities to transition from an income to wealth-based criteria.
MSIs can help higher education overall understand why their students -- those that we as a nation most need to complete a degree -- finish successfully. All of higher education has much to learn about educating low-income, students of color.
Our schools are arguably more segregated today than they were during the Brown decision. Indeed, many of the schools desegregated after Brown have re-segregated today. The effect of that segregation is just as toxic now as it was in 1954.
What we should have learned from No Child Left Behind is that you can set a goal of 100 percent proficiency for all students, but if you don't have the policies to support that goal, you are going to fall far short.
Of course poverty is a relative term. In the context of higher education, the phrase "one flat tire away" is often used to describe a large and growing number of college students for whom one minor financial setback is the difference between persistence and dropping out.