5 ways Maya Angelou influenced education

4. She was outspoken in current education issues.

Though Angelou was a supporter of President Obama, she also was a critic of his school-reform policies, specifically his education initiative, Race to the Top, and expressing concern about the impact standardized testing was having on children.

Angelou was one of the more than 120 other authors who signed a letter in October 2013 to President Obama, saying they were “alarmed” about the impact standardized test-centric school-reform policies were having “on children’s love reading and literature.”

Read more about her opinion on reform issues here.

5. She advanced the understanding of ignorance vs. illiteracy.

Many of Angelou’s themes in both her poems and her novels deal with the distinction between ignorance and illiteracy, knowledge gained through practical experience, and the lack of equality in education.

One of Angelou’s famous quotes, cited often in literary studies, reads:

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more intelligent and more educated than college professors.” ― Maya Angelou

Meris Stansbury

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