Our children, our future

2/17/2017, 9:05 p.m.

We welcome to Richmond the scores of educators from as far away as New Jersey and Ohio who are expected for the Teachers of Color Summit that is underway through Saturday in Downtown.

Their workshops and panels during the three-day event will focus on the needs of students of color, including such justice issues as equitable learning environments and school policies and practices.

Their discussions during this event, sponsored by the Virginia Education Association and the Virginia Department of Education, are both timely and relevant. Public school districts across the nation, including Richmond, expect to be confronted by mounting pressure from a federal administration that seems poised to pull funding from public school systems to finance private or parochial schools.

We, in Virginia, are not strangers to educational inequality. It is an old theme that goes back long before the history of Jim Crow. Unequal funding, unequal facilities, unequal programs and unequal pay for African-American teachers are just a few of the issues targeted by civil rights litigation within the last 60 years.

The challenges continue today, with students and studies showing a learning gap and graduation disparities between students of color and all others. Anecdotal and other evidence also show unequal discipline being meted out to students of color and students with disabilities.

All of these problems impact the lives, futures and expectations of the young people who trust us to guide their education.

We applaud the efforts of educators gathered here this weekend to confront head on these education issues.

We hope your discussions will lead to positive changes that raise the prospects for success for our students, our future.