(January 24, 2007) More than 50 years ago, in Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that sending children to separate schools solely on the basis of race was unconstitutional. Seven years prior, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled in Mendez vs. Westminster that Mexican American children could not be denied access to public schools or a quality education because they were Mexican American. While these two decisions transformed the nature of U.S. public education, their objectives have not been fully met.
IDRA has developed a process for community-based issues roundtables to catalyze local action to ensure that the promises of the Brown and Mendez cases are fulfilled. Dr.Rosana Rodríguez and Frances Guzmán join Dr. Bradley Scott, director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, in a conversation describing how these sessions are creating lasting partnerships between African American and Latino communities, using education as common ground for collaboration.
04:28 Bradley further describes the episode's discussion topic – bringing different racial groups together and engaging them in a way to work together, in particular the African American and Latino communities, in a way that ensures quality education for children by meeting the promises of both Brown v. Board of Education and Mendez vs. Westminster.
05:50 Bradley asks Rosana to describe the key cross-race and cross-sector issues facing IDRA in its efforts to bring these different communities together. Rosana notes "hypergrowth" in particular racial and ethnic groups and says that the promises of Brown and Mendez have not yet been fulfilled.
08:36 Frances discusses the importance of the "student voice" in the cross-race and cross-sector dialogue.
10:50 Bradley and Rosana note the "sobering" and "shocking" experience of hearing the students' point of view on how and whether the schools are meeting their needs.
12:15 Bradley notes the "historic tension" between the African American and Latino communities, as well as other minority communities, who end up "fighting other to gain." He asks Rosana about IDRA's capacity to help communities look beyond their individual racial point of view and to begin to listen to each other.
13:09 Rosana describes how IDRA partners with local communities and identifies local leaders who can sponsor Brown and Mendez dialogues. Through these talks, IDRA and the communities can begin to develop a blueprint that will generate positive change for the community and improve education for all children.
15:05 Frances notes the "brutally honest" nature of the discussions. Bradley and France say that the structure of the conversation helps to build a safe environment in which adults are encouraged to put aside their "historic baggage" and "lack of trust" and focus on improving the quality of education in their community.
17:43 Rosana says that the discussion model truly honors and respects the words of the participants.
18:25 Frances notes the impact the discussions have on the local communities. "It isn't just the talk," she says. "There will be something that happens afterwards, and it's their doing. There is their buy-in. It's their contribution."
18:51 Bradley says that people leave the meetings with an upbeat feeling, believing that improvements are possible and can be beneficial to the entire community if different groups are willing to work together.
19:34 Rosana notes that Dr. Martin Luther King is honored each January, and that the cross-race dialogues can help to build Dr. King's "dream."
19:59 Frances says that the discussions value and accept everyone at the table as equals, and that they can serve as a model for what can happen in the classroom.
20:17 Bradley wraps up the show and asks listeners to visit the IDRA web site and to provide feedback by e-mail, to
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