Fighting education injustice; a Hampton U. forum

By Imari Williams

To many parents, teachers, and students, education is a top priority and it is natural to be concerned about the educational system.

Hampton University hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the topic “Fighting Educational Injustice” on Jan. 25 in Hampton University’s Student Center Ballroom. The town hall meeting was sponsored by the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Policy, and National School Choice Week, Jan. 22-28. National School Choice week presents an opportunity every January, to raise awareness for effective education options for all children. 

Students were eager to attend the discussion in hopes of hearing the solutions for inequality in education. Jakari Taylor, a junior broadcast journalism major said, “I think it is important because we have a 2012 election coming up and is also important because schools in lower-income communities don’t receive enough funds, which result in cutbacks and protest.”

Yuri Milligan, director of University Relations, said that school choice is a hot topic in the media and that all political issues right now will play a role in the 2012 election and education will definitely make a difference.

The discussion focused on finding the best educational environments for children and supporting a variety of school choice options – from encouraging increased access to public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, private schools, and homeschooling.

Alexa Jones, a freshman fine arts major, said the program was very interesting and raised several valid points about education, which are often overlooked.  

The event encouraged unity among educators, parents, and students to work together to try to improve the educational system.  

A panel discussion was moderated by MSNBC political analyst Michelle D. Bernard, CEO of the Bernard Center and member of Hampton’s board of trustees. The panelists were Derrell Bradford, from the Better Education for Kids, Inc.; Shawn McCollough, from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence; and, Stephen A. Smith, host and Commentator for ESPN.

The Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy is a research and educational institution —a think tank—whose mission is to fundamentally change the terms of the nation’s most critical domestic, and foreign policy debates and challenge the American public, policymakers, and the media.

Milligan believes parents should make the best choice for their children—whether that be public, private, or homeschooling — because each child is unique and has different needs.