We know that segregation is evil. We know that the sickest children should not go to the worst hospitals. No, I refuse to pretend the problem is insufficient knowledge. We lack the theological will to do it.
Racial segregation has come back to public education with a vengeance.
The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory.
I emphasize teachers because they are largely left out of the debate. None of the bombastic reports that come from Washington and think tanks telling us what needs to be 'fixed' - I hate such a mechanistic word, as if our schools were automobile engines - ever asks the opinions of teachers.
Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.
The answers I remember longest are the ones that answer questions that I didn't think of asking.
There has been so much recent talk of progress in the areas of curriculum innovation and textbook revision that few people outside the field of teaching understand how bad most of our elementary school materials still are.
No matter what happens in a child's home, no matter what other social and economic factors may impede a child, there's no question in my mind that a first-rate school can transform almost everything.
I think a moment of critical energy has suddenly emerged. But moments like this come and go unless we seize them at their height.
The trouble is not that schools don't work; they do. They're excellent machines for achieving historically accepted purposes. In suburban schools are children of the rich, who grow up to privilege and anesthetic oblivion to pain - and who then use the servants produced by ghetto schools.
If you grow up in the South Bronx today or in south-central Los Angeles or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, you quickly come to understand that you have been set apart and that there's no will in this society to bring you back into the mainstream.
Apartheid does not happen spontaneously, like bad weather conditions.
Even if you never do anything about this, you've benefited from an unjust system. You're already the winner in a game that was rigged to your advantage from the start.
The cause of homelessness is lack of housing.
But for the children of the poorest people we're stripping the curriculum, removing the arts and music, and drilling the children into useful labor. We're not valuing a child for the time in which she actually is a child.
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