It has been fifty years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I believe there are so many changes of which he would have been proud. It is true there has been much advancement for people of color in the fifty years that have passed, but we still have work to do.
One area I believe he would be disappointed about is the lack of access to quality education for poor and minority students. In the fifty years since his assassination, there are still a vast majority of poor and minority children across the country, including my home state of Indiana, who have not been given a fair chance.
In his speech to Barratt Junior High students in Philadelphia six months before his assassination, he asked, “What is your life’s blueprint?”
Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance. Secondly, in your life’s blueprint, you must have as a basic principle the determination to achieve excellence in your various fields of endeavor.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would want parents, teachers, the legislature, and community leaders to work together to create a blueprint that builds success for all children. He would want to ensure that all children felt their success was important, no matter their circumstance or zip code.
Indiana is leading the nation in creating a blueprint for success for our most vulnerable children. Children like mine who were able to bypass failing schools because of school choice. As my twins are preparing to graduate high school in a few months and head to college with several academic scholarship offers and my fifth grader is preparing to compete with his robotics team at a world competition, I am thankful for the opportunity my children now have because of school choice. These are opportunities I believe they would not have been afforded if not for school choice.
Although we still have a long way to go to ensure all children have access to quality education options, I believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be happy with the progress Indiana is making in its blueprint to provide quality education to all children. As a community, we must have the determination for our children to achieve excellence, so that they always feel they have worth and they count.