Amending America: Educational Access and Equity


Date: March 7, 2017
Time: 7pm CT
Location: Perot Museum of Nature and Science, 2201 N. Field Street, Dallas, TX 75201

Watch the livestream

As part of its Amending America initiative, the National Archives and Records Administration presents a National Conversation on Educational Access and Equity at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, on March 7, 2017.

From school choice to standardized testing, public education in the United States continues to be hotly debated at the state and national levels. Join us as we debate some of the most critical issues in front of our nation today with experts and activists discussing topics ranging from the modern American school system to equal access to education.

At 7pm CT, Gregg Fleisher, National Math and Science Initiative, and Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and NPR, will engage in a keynote conversation on “Quality Education for Everyone.”

Following the keynote conversation, Cokie Roberts will moderate a panel discussion on the “Continued Redefinition of Equal Access” with Hector Flores, League of United Latin American Citizens; Sharon Shaffer, Early Learning in Museums, Inc.; Michael Sorrell, Paul Quinn College; and Todd Williams, Commit!.

Related Records in the National Archives

Brown v. Board of Education

– Executive Order 10730: Desegregation of Central High School

Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

Education Amendments of 1972 [including Title IX]

About the Speakers

cokie-robertsModerator: Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and NPR. In her more than forty years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting. In addition to her reporting, Roberts has written six New York Times bestsellers, most dealing with the roles of women in U.S. history.

In addition to her appearances on the airwaves, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by Universal U Click. The Roberts also wrote two books together: Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families, published in 2011 and From this Day Forward, an account of their now almost fifty year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto The New York Times bestseller list, following Cokie Roberts’s number one bestseller, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters, an account of American women’s roles and relationships over time.

Roberts’s other history books recounting the untold and remarkable contributions of women to the country’s founding and its preservation: Founding Mothers, published in 2004, Ladies of Liberty in 2008, and Capital Dames in 2015, about women and Washington in the Civil War—all also rated as New York Times bestsellers, along with her children’s book Founding Mothers, illustrated by Caldecott award winner Diane Goode. The children’s version of Ladies of Liberty, also illustrated by Goode, will be published in December 2016.

Cokie Roberts holds more than twenty five honorary degrees and serves on the boards of several non-profit institutions. President Bush appointed her to his Commission on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008 the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.

gregg-fleisherGregg Fleisher is president of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), a nonprofit organization dedicated empowering teachers and equipping students with the STEM knowledge and skills they need to thrive in college and the workforce of the 21st century. As president, Fleisher serves as NMSI’s key liaison with school district leaders, state and national STEM education partners, and public and private funders, while providing strategic direction and oversight of NMSI’s proven programs. He started his career as an auditor and actuary, but found his true passion as a math teacher. He taught high school math for 14 years in Dallas Independent School District, where his work at the district level led to unprecedented student performance in Advanced Placement (AP) calculus, particularly among traditionally underrepresented students.

Prior to joining NMSI, Fleisher served as president of AP Strategies, Inc., where he successfully implemented education programs focused on improving student participation and performance in rigorous math and science courses in over 70 districts across the state of Texas.   The success of AP Strategies led to the formation of NMSI as a public-private partnership in 2007. Under Fleisher’s leadership, NMSI’s programs have grown to reach more than 1,000 high schools and 45 universities, and are producing measurable and lasting results for more than 50,000 teachers and 1.5 million students across 40 states.  Fleisher currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the College Board, Head Start Greater Dallas, and The Perot Museum Council; and on the Education Advisory Council for

hector-floresHector M. Flores has had a long and distinguished career of public service at the local, state and national levels for a number of different government, civic, nonprofit and community Organizations. Mr. Flores is a graduate of Dilley High School, Dilley, Texas. He has diplomas, certificates and degrees from the following institutions: Draughon’s Business College, San Antonio Police Academy, and has a B.A from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas.

Mr. Flores has served on a number of prestigious local, state and national boards. They include former National Chairperson of the LNESC Board of Director, former National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Member of the SER, Jobs for Progress, Inc. Board of Directors, former Chairperson, Ti-City Health Centre Board of Trustees, former member, Greater Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, former member of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Flores is an alumnus of the second class of Leadership Dallas.

Mr. Flores has worked for the Office for Civil Rights, Department of HEW as an Equal Opportunity Specialist and as Conciliation Specialist for the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service. Mr. Flores was Director for Strategic Recruitment, Office for Human Development, Dallas ISD. He has been an employee of the Dallas Independent School District for over 23 years and opened up recruitment markets in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina and the Philippines. Mr. Flores is an avid reader, enjoys cooking fajitas and other Mexican delicacies, loves to travel, participates in numerous civic and cultural activities in the DFW Metroplex and the Southwest Region when not busy with his grandchildren ages 14, 13, 12 and 6 years.

sharon-shafferDr. Sharon Shaffer is a consultant and leading expert in the field of early learning and museum education.  She draws on nearly thirty years of experience in the field as the Founding Director for the Smithsonian’s model lab school in Washington, DC where she established a signature program of learning for the Institution. In recognition of her pioneering work, Shaffer received The Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service from the Smithsonian – the only educator with this distinction at the time of the award.

As an independent consultant, Dr. Shaffer works closely with museums and shares her belief in the power of objects and her passion for teaching art, history, and culture through art and artifacts.  Her expertise is in blending theory and practice to support educators in understanding object-based methodologies, developing curriculum and other educational materials in partnership with museums and schools.  Her experience cuts across all types of museums, including work with children’s museums, and lends itself to an interdisciplinary approach to learning that bridges formal and informal learning environments.

Dr. Shaffer has more than ten years of experience teaching for the University of Virginia and writes professionally for the field, contributing articles to journals in the United States and abroad, including Chinese Museum.  In spring 2012 she served as guest editor for the Journal of Museum Education’s issue “Early Learning: A National Conversation.” In 2015 she published Engaging Young Children in Museums, a text that offers an historical and theoretical framework for early learning experiences in classrooms and museums.  In addition to work with a wide range of museums in the United States, Dr. Shaffer is a senior advisor for the Children’s Museum Research Center [CMRC] at Beijing Normal University, China [2016 – 2019].

michael-sorrellMichael J. Sorrell is the 34th President of Paul Quinn College. Under his leadership, the school has become nationally acclaimed for its innovative approach to using higher education to address societal problems. Among the school’s accomplishments during Sorrell’s 10-year tenure have been: winning HBCU of the Year; being recognized as a member of the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; becoming the country’s first urban work college; transforming the football field into the “WE over Me Farm”; and record budget surpluses. Michael has been named one of America’s “Ten Most Innovative College Presidents” by the Washington Monthly, is the only two-time of the “HBCU Male President of the Year” award in history, and is the reigning “Father of the Year” in Dallas. Michael received his B.A. from Oberlin College, his J.D. and M.A. in Public Policy from Duke University, and his Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

todd-williamsHighly committed to public education, Todd Williams is the founding Chairman and Executive Director of The Commit! Partnership, the nation’s largest collective impact organization with over 190 institutions (including 15 school districts and eight higher ed institutions educating over 790,000 students) focused together on meaningfully improving post-secondary completion levels across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He also serves as the Education Policy Advisor to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Todd is a current trustee and former board chair for Austin College, one of the region’s leading liberal arts institutions located in Sherman, Texas. With his wife Abby, Todd also serves on the board and was the founding chair of the regional advisory board for Teach for America in Dallas/Ft. Worth, and also helped establish in 2007 the Williams Preparatory School, a K-12 free tuition public charter school operated by Uplift Education that educates over 1,500 primarily low-income children in northwest Dallas. 100% of its graduates since its first senior class in 2011 have been accepted to a four-year college or university. Todd is the former Chair of the Citizen Budget Review Commission for Dallas ISD ($1.7 billion budget educating 160,000 students) and the former Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for Uplift Education, a public charter school management organization serving almost 15,000 students across the D/FW area. He is also the former chairman of both the Real Estate Finance and Investment Center (located at the University of Texas) and the Real Estate Council of Dallas, the city’s largest real estate organization.

Prior to dedicating his efforts full time as a volunteer to public education, Todd served as both a partner and as global co-head of Goldman Sachs’ real estate private equity investment area, retiring in 2009 following a 20-year career with the firm in their New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices. Total assets under management purchased by GS-managed real estate funds exceeded $100 billion in cost, including $10 billion of equity invested by Goldman Sachs and its managing partners.

A public school graduate from Bryan Adams H.S. in Dallas ISD, Todd earned an M.B.A. with distinction from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1989 and graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Austin College in Sherman, Texas in 1982.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at:

About the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The top cultural attraction in Dallas/Fort Worth and a Michelin Green Guide three-star destination, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a nonprofit educational organization located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, with campuses in Victory Park and Fair Park. With a mission to inspire minds through nature and science, the Perot Museum delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor and outreach experiences through its education, exhibition, and research and collections programming for children, students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The 180,000-square-foot facility in Victory Park opened in December 2012 and is now recognized as the symbolic gateway to the Dallas Arts District. Future scientists, mathematicians and engineers will find inspiration and enlightenment through 11 permanent exhibit halls on five floors of public space; a children’s museum; a state-of-the art traveling exhibition hall; and The Hoglund Foundation Theater, a National Geographic Experience. Designed by 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis Architects, the Victory Park museum has been lauded for its artistry and sustainability. To learn more, please visit

About the National Archives Foundation

The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at:

The “National Conversation on Rights and Justice” in Dallas is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation.