Anyone interested in the state of education in the United States must read this article by Jonathan Kozol in the September issue of Harpers.
It is heartbreaking and unbelievable.
Two quick excerpts:
In San Diego there is a school that bears the name of Rosa Parks in which 86 percent of students are black and Hispanic and only some 2 percent are white. In Los Angeles there is a school that bears the name of Dr. King that is 99 percent black and Hispanic, and another in Milwaukee in which black and Hispanic children also make up 99 percent of the enrollment. There is a high school in Cleveland that is named for Dr. King in which black students make up 97 percent of the student body, and the graduation rate is only 35 percent. In Philadelphia, 98 percent of children at a high school named for Dr. King are black. At a middle school named for Dr. King in Boston, black and Hispanic children make up 98 percent of the enrollment.
And, when Kozol interviewed Isabel, a student in an inner city school:
I asked her if she thought America truly did not “have room” for her or other children of her race. “Think of it this way,” said a sixteen-year-old girl sitting beside her. “If people in New York woke up one day and learned that we were gone, that we had simply died or left for somewhere else, how would they feel?”
“How do you think they’d feel?” I asked.
“I think they’d he relieved,” this very solemn girl replied.