As U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan has taken on one of the nation’s most-pressing challenges: Improving the quality of public education — especially for the poorest students. And so far, through the Race to the Top effort and the proposed revamp of the No Child Left Behind Act, he has (imperfectly) forced many Americans to finally pay attention to the reasons why the overhauls are needed.

In this video excerpt from his speech earlier this year, the former Chicago Public Schools chief executive offers another reason why reform is so important: Fulfilling the dream of the Civil Rights Movement to assure that all children have equal opportunity to a high-quality education. Listen, think, consider, then take action.

Also, read my report in The American Spectator on how Duncan’s efforts are also complicating the political choices (and career) of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who must now decide whether to support or veto a teacher quality reform (and tenure elimination) measure.