U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Thursday appointed 28 education, advocacy, business, and law professionals – including five members of the Executive Committee of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights – to the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.
The commission, which was established by legislation sponsored by Reps. Chaka Fattah, D. Pa., and Mike Honda, D. Calif., will study the disparities in educational resources that contribute to the expanding achievement gap. It will then recommend ways school funding could be more equitably distributed to increase opportunity and achievement. In the most recent national education report card, U.S. schools received a grade of “C” in school finance equity.
“At a time when America’s standing in the world is being challenged on many fronts, education is a critical component in rebuilding our economy and preparing our citizens for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference.
The Leadership Conference believes that access to a high-quality education is the right of every child. The leaders of five member organizations will be serving on the commission: Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association; and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
“The true test of our greatness as a society will be whether or not we rise to the challenge and do what’s right for our children today and the generations that will follow. These appointees will help our nation rise to that challenge,” Henderson said.