Matthew Delmont: "Education, History, and Possibility"

There are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about the future of education in the U.S., but Professor Delmont talks about reasons to believe in possibility. His starting point is two examples of educational activism in 1950s/1960s Philadelphia. The first involves Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre, the first African-American principal in Philadelphia. Hayre introduced a guidance and motivation program at her high school that opened the door to college and careers for a number of young women of color. The second example is the Fellowship Commission, the city’s leading civil rights coalition, that led a successful campaign to create a community college in Philadelphia. Focusing on these two examples, Professor Delmont talks about the role history can play in contemporary struggles for educational equality. He will conclude by discussing (and asking others to discuss) contemporary examples of people working to improve educational opportunities.