Why so green and lonely? Everything's going to be alright, just you wait and see.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Separate But Equal is Not Equal

Harper's Magazine recently published an essay by Jonathan Kozol entitled Still Separate, Still Unequal: America's Educational Apartheid. As I read the stories from teachers and students inside NYC public schools, my jaw must've dropped a dozen times and I remember saying a few no-f**king-ways out loud.

Kozol explores the inequity faced by inner-city public schools and he reveals the hypocrisy of privileged parents and officials who promote standardized testing as fair while giving their own children an unfair advantage. At one point Kozol follows a teacher who reluctantly subjects her 4th grade students to a newly mandated system of regimentation and control over children's behaviour:
Suddenly, with a seeming surge of restlessness and irritation—with herself, as it appeared, and with her own effective use of all the tricks that she had learned—she turned to me and said, "I can do this with my dog."
Equally disturbing are the ways in which politicians and school officials defend the introduction of these demoralizing policies into public schools:
The head of a Chicago school, for instance, who was criticized by some for emphasizing rote instruction that, his critics said, was turning children into "robots," found no reason to dispute the charge. "Did you ever stop to think that these robots will never burglarize your home?" he asked, and "will never snatch your pocketbooks. . . . These robots are going to be producing taxes."
You can find a copy of Kozol's essay online right here.


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