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Volume IV, Number 10, January, 2006

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Honoring the Dream

By Jamie McKenzie (About Author)

Even though we honor the man with a public holiday and even though we pay lip service to the principles that he advocated, the United States has been backsliding on his dream for quite some time now as segregated schools and poverty are on the increase.

Even though administration officials mouth commitment to minorities, their policies have undermined decades of social and economic progress.

The increase in children living in poverty is chilling.1

The increase in segregated schooling is scandalous.2

The failure of NCLB is ominous.3

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"

In his "I have a dream" speech, Dr. King described a vision of America that is at odds with the America being created by current policies.

Go to speech.

Standing Tall

by Jamie McKenzie
In honor of Martin Luther King

Some kings rule their kingdoms sitting down
Surrounded by luxury, soft cushions and fans
But this King stood strong
stood proud
stood tall

When the driver told Rosa
"Move to the back of the bus!"
When the waiter told students
"We don't serve your kind!"
When the Mayor told voters
"Your vote don't count!"
And when the sheriff told marchers
"Get off our streets!"
using fire hoses, police dogs and cattle prods
to move them along
This King stood strong
stood proud
stood tall
Speaking of peace
of love
and children
hand in hand
free at last
free at last

When some yelled for violence
For angry revenge
An eye for an eye
And a tooth for a tooth
He stood his ground
Preaching peace

And when some spit out hate
He stood there smiling
Spreading love
Until it rolled like the sea across the land
Sweeping away Jim Crow
Breaking down the walls
Ringing the bell
For Freedom

Standing on the mountain top
They shot him
Hoping to see him fall
Hoping to put him away
To bring him low

But this King
even in death
even today
stands strong
stands proud
stands tall
And we remember

by Jamie McKenzie

© 1982, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved.

1. "Signs point to repercussions of kids being poorer"
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

Federal figures released last week show that 18%, or about 13 million children, lived in poverty in 2003, the latest year for which figures are available.

That is lower than in 1993, when 23% of children were poor, but higher than in 2001, when 16% lived below the poverty line.

and Tuesday, August 17, 2004

America's income gap grows; rich get richer
Wealthiest 20% account for 50% of U.S. income, Census shows


2. In The Shame of the Nation - The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, Jonathan Kozol cites the research of Gary Orfield of Harvard to document the return to a heavily segregated system.

"At the beginning of the twenty-first century," according to Professor Gary Orfield and his colleagues at the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University, " American public schools are now 12 years into the process of continuous resegregation. The desegregation of black students, which increased continuously from the 1950s to the late 1980s, has now receded to levels not seen in three decades." (p 19)

Review at

3. "Failing AYP at the Top"

Quoting from an NEA news release:

NAEP Scores Show Minimal
Changes in Reading and Math Scores

Achievement Gaps for Minorities Closing at Slower Rate than Before NCLB

WASHINGTON -- The release of 2003-05 data in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report indicates that the so-called "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law has resulted in very little improvement, if any, of students' math and reading test scores. In fact, the National Education Association (NEA) noted results in some areas indicate that progress has slowed in the last two years.

© 2006, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved. This article may be e-mailed to individuals by individuals, but all other duplication, distribution, publication and use is prohibited without first receiving explicit permission. Contact for information.