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SPOTLIGHT
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Rally in Topeka

Published on -5/13/2014, 10:02 AM

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Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that educational equality -- not separate but equal -- was a right for all Americans. The landmark decision helped spring the civil rights movement of the following decade.

This week in Topeka, various events are marking the anniversary. The Kansas State Board of Education will have part of its board meeting Wednesday at the national historic site. First Lady Michelle Obama will speak to graduating high school seniors at the Kansas Expocentre on Friday. On Saturday, there will be a Legacy Walk from the Brown v. Board site to Sumner Elementary School, as well as a Twitter re-enactment of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Much attention will be focused on the state capital as these words from 1954 are remembered: "In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms."

Still another group marking the anniversary is the Moving Kansas Forward group, which is not convinced such equality exists in 2014. Teachers, educators and members of the public who believe the governor and Legislature are depriving public school students of necessary funding while giving tax breaks to special interests, corporations and the wealthy will have their own gathering Saturday. "Raise your hand to reclaim the promise" is the rallying cry for those advocates seeking adequate and equal funding for schools.

Free transportation is available for people in this area who would like to attend Saturday's festivities. The bus will leave at 7 a.m. that day from the KNEA Cottonwood Uniserv office parking lot, 1202 Canterbury Drive. Once in Topeka, attendees will visit the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Museum, then march to the Capitol for a rally on the steps. There will be a picnic and music on the Capitol lawn following the rally. The bus should be back in Hays by approximately 5 p.m.

"It's an important time to celebrate and to continue to fight for equality for every student, for every child in public education," said Kathy Rome, KNEA Cottonwood Uniserv director. "We still seem to struggle especially with some of what has happened at the state level. The whole Gannon lawsuit that just recently was announced dealt with not only adequate funding, but equity."

We would encourage anyone interested in having their voice heard to take advantage of the trip. As the current inadequate funding is set for the upcoming school year, the only remaining option is to replace those in state government who apparently don't support the ideals -- and laws -- established in Brown v. Board of Education.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

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