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Honoring Our Educators

Please take a few minutes this morning to read John Pope's article in the Times-Picayune about the passing of Mrs. Marie Louie Pierce Jones, a pioneer of education and an advocate for racial justice in New Orleans.

Mrs. Jones died last week at the age of 95. She retired in 1986 after a teaching career that lasted half a century. Per the article:

"She did more than preside over a classroom or school. Because Mrs. Jones was drawn to children with special needs, she earned a master's degree in special education at Wayne State University [in] 1949 and established the first special-education classes for visually impaired and mentally challenged black children at a time when New Orleans' public schools were segregated.

And in the early 1940s, Mrs. Jones was a plaintiff in a suit that successfully challenged the system that paid white teachers more than their black counterparts."

To devote one's life to educating children is a heroic accomplishment in and of itself; but to fight for equality and justice for people of all colors and types is something we should all hold in the highest esteem. Don't neglect when Mrs. Jones was fighting for racial justice-the 1940s, decades before Martin Luther King, Jr. brought the Civil Rights Movement to national attention.

It is for that reason that Mrs. Marie Jones is a shining beacon for teachers everywhere, and somebody to whom educators should look and take pride in their profession.

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