Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Year Resolution - Of Sorts

With this last illness over Christmas I finished The Shame of The Nation by Jonathan Kozol. This is a book I had heard about, in fact it was a book Oprah Winfrey mentioned in one of her shows on the shameful state of our K-12 education system. This is a book about what is broken in our school systems, from the point of view of someone who has worked as a teacher. Personally, this is a book that every voter (whether you are parents or not) should read.

I'd like to give you a quote from the book, The Shame of The Nation, from Chapter 10, page 262:

"As things stand today, the children in the schools we have examined in this book are not protected by their nation. Yet they are expected in school to perform at national standards, are graded on what are, in fact, no less than national exams that measure their success or failure according to nationally determined norms, are expected to vote someday in national elections, compete for earnings in a national job market and, because of their race and poverty, are far more likely than most other citizens to imperil their lives by serving in our nation's wars. The illegitimacy of the uneven social contract by which they are bound invites a more aggressive scrutiny than it can be accorded in the courts of separate states. These children are not citizens of Illinois, New York, or California. They are (most of them are, at least) the citizens of the United States; yet the flag that hangs above their classrooms and their schools does not defend their interest where it comes to preparation for adulthood in their nation, and the words of the pledge we ask them to recite can only mock their actual experience."

The reason for the title is this: In the last election we voted on an amendment to our State Constitution defining Marriage. Those of us who wanted this passed got it passed. As of yet, there is no State nor Federal guarantee by the Constitutions of both to provide equality in education. Public schools cannot discriminate entry due to color (Brown vs. Board of Education), but they are discriminating against the poor. Schools of the affluent get better funding (and are able to better fundraise for the students) than the less affluent. This is true even in our own backyard:

Tempe-Kyrene Differences May Have Been Unification's Undoing

Shouldn't we be doing something for the kids?

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