As spokesman and leading organizer for the East Side Social Action Coalition, Lands has shaken up the AISD bureaucracy and focused renewed attention on the failings of Austin's public schools, especially on the Eastside. The Coalition's threat to pull significant numbers of minority students from the schools for private neighborhood teaching might seem impractical - yet it's clear that without emergency action, another generation of students may be sacrificed to conventional budgetary priorities. As Lands argues, the hand-wringing and inaction have gone on for 40 years. What must happen is a renewed determination by the city and state to make public education a real priority - and that will never grow unless it begins at the grassroots. Rev. Lands' work with the Coalition is unfinished, but his determination to put the schoolchildren first is the only way to go.
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