Q and A with Rod Paige

Buses, lunch counters, swimming pools, and drinking fountains were the battlegrounds of the ’60s-era civil rights movement. Today, according to former U. S. Education Secretary Rod Paige, that battleground is the classroom -- a place where too many African-American students are failing to achieve their potential.

Racism still exists, Paige says, but it’s not the primary problem facing black America. It’s the disparity between the academic achievement of African Americans and other ethnic groups, including whites and Asians. Paige’s new book, which he wrote with his sister, Elaine Witty, dean of education at Norfolk State University in Virginia, is called The Black-White Achievement Gap: Why Closing It Is the Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time.

Recently, Paige -- a former school board member and superintendent in Houston -- spoke with ASBJ Senior Editor Lawrence Hardy about the achievement gap, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and the challenges facing African-American students. The interview has been edited to fit this space.

Would you like to continue reading?
Subscribers please click here to continue reading. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to purchase this article or to obtain a subscription to ASBJ.