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Black and Latino students continue to be underserved in public schools compared to Whites, according to data from the 2nd annual New Education Majority Poll. Roland Martin invited a pair of education experts to the NewsOne Now panel to discuss how public education can benefit students of color.

Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, the organization that organized the New Education Minority Poll, and Michael Lopez, Ph.D., Principal Associate at Abt Associates, both offered their unique takes on the dearth of education equality on the public level.

We have struggled as a nation, certainly since the end of slavery, to try and make equality a reality and not just an aspirational goal. Education is the key to opportunity in American society, certainly one of the major keys, and the failure to provide adequate public education for all children regardless of race or ethnicity or background or economic status is one of the issues that defines whether opportunities really exist in a meaningful way,” Henderson said.

Lopez added, “Most of these discussions have been focused on the Black perspective and there are many similarities between the Black and Hispanic disparity issues, and saying there is equality is one thing but actually doing it down in the trenches on the front lines in the communities is a different issue. I think that this poll that Wade’s organization has done really helps to point out some important perceptions parents really have about what’s happening.

Martin raised the issue of school choice, making note that it is just one portion of the entire education process. Both Henderson and Lopez responded in kind, with the former stating that education is still largely state-ran but would like to see federal involvement yet there seems to be little development in that arena.

Watch Roland Martin on NewsOne Now talk the disparity between the races in public education with Wade Henderson and Michael Lopez on NewsOne Now.

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