When the Kerner Commission investigated racial strife in the United States, the members warned that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Furthermore, the commission excoriated journalists for ignoring African Americans’ complaints about police abuse, inferior schools and segregated housing. The commission stung U.S. journalists with this attack: “The media report and write from the standpoint of a white man’s world. The ills of the ghetto, the difficulties of life there, the Negro’s burning sense of grievance are seldom conveyed.” That was 50 years ago. The Kerner Commission was a blue-ribbon panel of prominent civic leaders appointed by President Johnson to investigate the problems that led to a series of riots—many called them “rebellions”—that burst out in cities across the country during the 1960s. In recent weeks there have been many events and campaigns to observe the Kerner Commission’s 50th anniversary.
Blog / equity
Mark your calendars! On June 3, Renaissance Journalism is hosting a one-day symposium for journalists on educational equity. The event, "Equity Matters: Covering the Troubling Divide in the Education of America's Children," will bring together the nation’s top experts and leading education journalists in examining the root causes and impact of our nation’s troubling “opportunity gap.” This disparity has resulted in an unequal education system, shortchanging the futures of millions of low-income, minority and immigrant children.
When education reporter Kristina Rizga first swept through the double doors at San Francisco’s Mission High School in 2009, she fully expected to see the telltale signs of failure and despair. After all, three-quarters of its students came from poor families, and 38 percent were English language learners from more than 40 countries. They had posted some of the worst test scores in the nation, making Mission High a prime candidate for major restructuring or even closure. But Rizga discovered something entirely different. Despite these great odds, the students were not only learning, but thriving.