NAESPA Statement: The Fierce Urgency of Now

National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA)
Ensuring Student Equity and Access

All of us have witnessed unconscionable recent acts of violence that are just the latest in an unending series of crimes that have devalued, trivialized, and ended the lives our brothers and sisters—our fellow citizens—of color.

When will it stop? When is enough, enough? Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.” We heard his words of warning in the 60’s, and yet the atrocities continue.

It is not, cannot be, too late. But the time is now. NAESPA naturally aligns with the courageous men and women protesting and demanding an end to racial injustice. Equity, access, and civil rights are at the very core of our mission. While today’s strife is focused on police action, we know that racism permeates virtually every area of our society and culture. Our education system too often fails our black and brown children, who are less likely to graduate from high school than their white peers. The connection between poverty and race is fact. These examples are just the surface of deep disparities faced by people of color.

We stand with you, our partners and stakeholders, as each of you work to end the racial inequities that black, brown, immigrant, homeless, and all marginalized children and families are subjected to on a daily basis—all of these represented and served in some manner by the federal programs of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

We must do better. Our children deserve better. It is long overdue that all people come together, all races stand, and all voices be heard for embracing the promise and potential of a strong, diverse, and United States of America. It cannot wait for the future because the future is now.

About the Author

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) is a membership organization made up of state-level administrators, and their staff from each of the states and territories, charged with managing their state federal education programs. They ensure compliance with federal regulations, but more importantly work to see that all children — especially those living in economically disadvantaged conditions — have the opportunity to receive a high quality education.