TEA News Releases Online Aug. 28, 2013
Statement of Commissioner Michael Williams regarding
March on Washington 50th anniversary
AUSTIN - Commissioner of Education Michael Williams today issued the following statement regarding the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the continued importance of closing the achievement gap among all students in Texas:
"Fifty years ago today, more than 200,000 people participated in the March on Washington, rallying in one voice for the just cause of equality. We have all heard the stirring words of Dr. Martin Luther King, in many cases, hearing that speech and learning of its significance while sitting in a Texas classroom. The importance of Dr. King's message from that day a half century ago still rings true in the Texas of 2013 as it did in 1963. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the school districts and charters across our state.
"Education continues to be the great equalizer. And in a state where the majority of our students are now Hispanic or African-American, closing the achievement gap takes on increasing significance for the future prosperity of Texas. It is the reason I purposely chose to make that factor a major component of our state's new accountability system. The results of this year's ratings - as well as recently announced numbers on graduation rates and ACT scores - show that Texas has made tremendous strides.
"I am heartened by my talks with teachers, principals and superintendents across our state and their commitment to the education of their students - all students. It is the work of these educators - combined with effort and dedication from our students and parents - that will strengthen the future of our state. We cannot allow demographics to define our educational expectations. That is a path that leads to division and excuses.
"So as we take time to remember the impact of this day in 1963, let us not only reflect on how far we have come, but how much work there is still left to do in Texas. Through education, there is opportunity. Through opportunity, there is success. It is a commitment we must all share for every student who walks into every Texas classroom today and in the years ahead."