ALEXANDRIA, VA. (August 28, 2013)—The following statement can be attributed to National PTA President Otha Thornton:
National PTA commemorates the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. As the nation’s oldest and largest advocate for children, National PTA has played, and continues to play, an integral role in helping to ensure the rights of all children. And while Dr. King’s Dream of true racial equality has not yet been fully realized, through the work of National PTA, and state and local PTA’s across the country, significant progress has been made.
Since its beginning in 1897 to its merger with the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers in 1970, National PTA has worked to close the achievement gap that has resulted in a disproportionate graduation rate, unbalanced test scores and other racial disparities in America’s schools.
Rigorous standards like Common Core, along with federal and state legislation that promotes increased family engagement in schools will help. But to have truly limitless opportunities for our children, we have to truly remove all limits—whether overt and explicit or subliminal and unintentional—that have been placed on them.
In America, no one’s destiny has been predetermined. All children can, and are expected to, succeed. Today, we should all recommit ourselves to becoming true keepers of Dr. King’s Dream.
It is not lost on National PTA that Dr. King’s Dream was not for himself, or even for his generation. It was a Dream for America’s children to grow up in a better world where “they could be judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.”
Make no mistake, if Dr. King’s Dream is to be fully realized, America’s schools are where the dreaming starts. By giving every child the same opportunities—regardless of skin tone or socioeconomic status—dreams will take off, our children will excel, and their opportunities will multiply.
As the first African-American male president of National PTA, I have made it a goal of the association to focus on helping to remove limits for all children, and giving them the resources and support that they need to receive the best education in the world.
The March on Washington was not only for decent jobs and decent housing, it was also for decent schools. A great education for every child is rooted in America’s Dream and Dr. King’s Dream.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.