There, civil rights activist and attorney Fred Gray was named the 2019 recipient of the Living Legend award, an honor he richly deserves. Most notably, he represented Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and the 14 students of color who were prohibited from attending Tuskegee High School in 1963 (Lee v. Macon County Board of Education).
Gray enabled key leaders of the civil rights movement to continue their good work, and he also fought for something we must continue to make progress on today: Making quality education a truly equal opportunity.
That’s a core part of our work at K12, where we strive to meet the individual needs of every student regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, geographic location or socioeconomic background.
We’ve been working toward this goal since 2000, and we’ve come a long way in the nearly 20 years since then, providing school districts and charter schools with online K-12 curriculum and online career technical education (CTE) in either fully or partially blended capacities. By the numbers, K12:
- Has a presence in all 50 states
- Employs over 5,000 teachers, providing them with jobs, quality professional development, training and new opportunities
- Supports 120,000 students currently enrolled in our partner schools, with one million having already benefited from this new approach to teaching and learning.
That last bullet point is the one we’re most proud of, especially considering we welcome a high percentage of academically at-risk students (below grade level, dropout recovery, or not on track to graduate), a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students, and students from urban rural areas. Often, if the latter are no longer able to attend their assigned school due to things like bullying, safety or lack of resources, we are their only option.
Still, we know the work continues. We must give more disadvantaged youth and students of color an education that offers them access to opportunities that allow them to thrive and succeed.
We can do it. The solution already exists, and the only thing in our way is bickering about political differences and preconceived notions concerning school choice. If we embrace the spirit of the season – prioritizing peace, love, joy – and put those differences aside, we will build upon the life-changing, history-making foundation legends like Fred Gray have worked so hard to establish and protect.