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Robert Schenkkan: Education should be a constitutional right

CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today's civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.

Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright ("The Kentucky Cycle," "All the Way")

When it comes to equality, what issues/actions are most important to you?

Courtesy Robert Schenkkan

The key issue in civil rights today is education. The failure to insure every child a quality education dooms millions of poor and almost entirely non-white students to a second-class life with little prospect of advancement.

This failure is not just represented in our dropout rate (which, despite an admirable decline over the last decade, continues to demonstrate a persistent racial disparity), but critically in the kind of student we are graduating. More than 70 percent of Americans go on to matriculate at a four-year college, but less than two-thirds end up graduating -- and those that do, end up carrying a staggering burden of debt.

Inequities in education cripple social and economic mobility. If we are serious about civil rights in this country, if we are serious about social justice, we have to fix our educational system. Education should be a constitutional right.

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