WASHINGTON, DC– The Independent Women’s Forum today declares school choice to be the unfinished agenda of Brown v. Board of Education.

“The struggle of African American parents in Kansas, South Carolina, Delaware and the District of Columbia to have their children attend the schools of their choice forever changed our nation and led to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education,” says Michelle D. Bernard, senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark decision, American public education is still largely separate and unequal. Our public school system is dangerously close to creating a permanent underclass of African American, Hispanic, and low-income children with little if any hope for the future.”

Since 1970, spending on public education has more than doubled, yet there has been little improvement in nationwide test scores and little reduction in the black-white education gap. Today, parents and policy makers are increasingly embracing school choice as a tool for improving American education.

“Today, people of every race, color and creed are demanding school choice as an instrument for education reform,” says Bernard. ” Sadly, 50 years after Brown, the black students at the heart of that historic case are still fighting for access to quality education. School choice is the unfinished agenda of Brown. It is the civil rights movement of this generation and is the key to equality for all Americans.”

The 50th anniversary of Brown, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place in public education and that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, is May 17, 2004.