Editor's note: Pedro Noguera is a professor at New York University and director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. He is editor of "Unfinished Business: Closing the Achievement Gap in Our Nation's Schools" and author of "The Trouble With Black Boys ... And Other Reflections on Race, Equity and the Future of Public Education."
By Pedro Noguera, Special to CNN
(CNN) – For the past 25 years I have been working as an educator, researcher and policy advocate.
I am also the parent of four children who have attended public schools.
In each of these roles I have tried to improve public education and advance the educational rights of children, particularly those who have historically been poorly served.
Given my background, I was pleasantly surprised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent assertion that education was "the civil rights issue of our time".
Romney is only the most recent politician to connect changes in education to civil rights. Similar remarks have been made by President Obama as well.
Typically, the politicians who make such declarations link it to a call for reform.
Romney has chosen to connect his declaration to the issue of choice and vouchers.
The question is: Why does Romney believe that simply by promoting school choice the problems that plague public education in America will go away?
It isn't the lack of funds from the government that has damaged our childrens education. It is the lack of interest of the parents in their childrens lives.
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