New York Times Brown v. Board Ad & Statement of Support for the Equitable Implementation of the Common Core

Communiqué (Joint Statement) of Support for the Common Core State Standards and Equitable Implementation from National Civil Rights and Education Groups

As we commemorate and recognize the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision, we also acknowledge that an equitable and excellent education for all students has yet to be achieved and is indeed the civil rights issue of our time.  While this landmark ruling ended legal segregation in America’s public schools in May 1954, separate and unequal resources and expectations have remained a reality for many students.

Still, we believe that the opportunities for a bright future and a fair chance to achieve their potential are achievable for all children – and the responsible implementation of the Common Core State Standards is a critical piece in the continuing fight for equity. 

We, the undersigned, have a resolute commitment to the Common Core State Standards and their equitable implementation.  These standards represent an unprecedented opportunity for us to meet our shared goals of better educating and preparing all of our children for the opportunities and jobs that will put them on a path to success – no matter where they live or how much money their parents make.  The Common Core is setting us on a path where we cease to routinely have different expectations – and success outcomes – for different students.  Now is not the time to turn back.

Further, in unison we assert:

  • We stand in support of the 44 states that have currently adopted the Common Core and urge them to remain steadfast in their efforts toward an equitable and high-quality implementation.  We believe that turning back from implementation at this stage would exacerbate existing inequities in public education.  We also urge the six states that have not adopted the Common Core to do so and ensure high standards and expectations for all children in their states.
  • We fully support the Common Core and understand that the standards are not a cure-all for the resource and other challenges facing low-income students, children of color, English Language Learners and Native students or the teachers and schools that serve them.  Any questions or constructive criticism we raise or actions we take in support of ensuring equity and excellence in implementation do not undermine our shared and deep commitment to ensuring the success of the Common Core implementation – and the success of all of our children.
  • Our collective position on and support of the Common Core are not a result of limited perspectives and engagement. We have been informed by our constituents in thousands of communities across the nation who want all children to have access to high-quality education and the necessary resources to achieve.
  • We recognize that the Common Core implementation, including assessments tied to the standards, may further expose inequities in the education system that have a palpable impact on achievement, including issues around differential access to teaching of the highest quality.  We hope and believe that this exposure can lead to productive discussions and viable solutions directed toward our shared goal of achieving equitable education opportunity for all. 
  • The Common Core State Standards are only one part of the solution to the inequity, achievement and proficiency challenges within our education system.  Nonetheless, they are a key part of the solution and will inject additional quality and equity that will help our nation achieve the leveling of the playing field for which our organizations have long advocated.  

Our children are counting on us, and we must get this right – for them, for our shared future and for our nation.  In partnership and empowerment, we are,

Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Rev. Al Sharpton
Founder and President
National Action Network

Janet Murguía
President and CEO
National Council of La Raza

Wade Henderson
President and CEO
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Rufina Hernández
Executive Director
Campaign for High School Equity

Melanie Campbell
President and CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Brent A. Wilkes
National Executive Director
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Pamela Agoyo
National Indian Education Association

Thomas A. Saenz
President and General Counsel

Bob Wise
Alliance for Excellent Education


See below for the Brown v. Board of Education Ad placed in the New York Times, May 19, 2014: