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Advancing Creative Solutions to Assure Fairness and Excellence in Education

Only 9 percent of South Carolinas poor and near-poor 8th grade students scored proficient or advanced in reading in 1998, while 29 percent of students from middle-class and affluent families scored proficient or better.
Miles To Go South Carolina (2002)

Nation at Risk

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1983SEF trustees vote to commence the process of changing the Foundation's status from a private to a public foundation.
Nation at Risk is released. The report states: "If an unfriendly power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." Later, many will consider the report as the start of the modern education reform movement in America.
US District Court grants NAACP Legal Defense Fund petition and orders 6 Southern states to submit new desegregation plans for its colleges and universities.
1984US Supreme Court rules in Grove City v. Bell, that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act does not cover entire educational institutions--only those programs directly receiving federal funds. Other programs that did not receive federal funds were free to discriminate on the basis of gender. The ruling also slows down enforcement of Title VI banning racial discrimination. In the months ahead, the Reagan Administration will drop or limit hundreds of lawsuits against schools and colleges.
1985SEF makes a grant to support voting rights efforts to develop fair redistricting plans for school boards in the South.
1986SEF launches the Black College Library Improvement Project to enhance traditionally under-funded HBCU libraries.
Five White students dressed in Ku Klux Klan-type attire break into the room of a Black cadet at The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. A year later, the Black cadet will leave the Citadel under protest.
1987SEF commences the Consortium on Teacher Supply and Quality, the first in the nation to link the nation's leading graduate schools of education with the unique expertise of Black colleges.
1988 SEF provides seed money to start the first local "public education funds" in the schools of poor, rural South to support fairness and innovation.
President Ronald Reagan vetoes the Civil Right Restoration Act that proposes to reverse the 1984 US Supreme Court decision limiting the reach of federal law prohibiting racial discrimination by schools and colleges. The US Congress will override Reagan's veto.
Later in the same year, comedian and television star Bill Cosby announces a gift of $20 million to Spelman College, an institution for African American women in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the largest gift ever made by an African American to an educational institution.
1989Twenty students occupy the administration building at predominantly Black Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, demanding improvements in delinquent fee policies, campus services, dormitory conditions, and curriculum. The demonstration follows earlier student takeovers at historically Black Howard University.
Later in the year, fraternity members at the University of Mississippi dump two naked White pledges with racial slurs and "KKK" on their chests at predominately Black Rust College. At a University of Alabama football game, some White spectators hoist the Confederate flag and jeer Kimberly Ashely, the university's Black homecoming queen. These are two of a series of similar occurrences aimed at Black students on high school and college campuses.
1990Students at historically Black Tennessee State University in Nashville stage sit-ins and marches protesting "poor conditions" at the school. Several students are arrested for "violating school rules or criminal laws" during the demonstrations.
1991SEF's 9th annual continuing conference on public policy focuses on "A New Agenda for Educational Equity."
Institutions of higher education and public schools in five Southern cities begin to develop plans to increase numbers of minority teachers who work in urban areas.
1992US Supreme Court rules that Mississippi's state system of higher education fails to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
1993 SEF accelerates "Pathways To Teaching" program across the South to increase the number of certified minority teachers.
Kentucky continues the early years of implementing the Kentucky Education Reform Act, considered the most sweeping state reform in the nation, as a result of a state court decision holding in the late 1980s that the state's entire educational system was unconstitutional. Similar litigation spreads across the region and nation.
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