Welcome back to Stories from School! While we still have a few more weeks before the school year begins, our blog is back in session, with three new wonderful bloggers joining the dialogue. Our stories from our classrooms are critical. I’m realizing this more and more, especially today, in Washington DC, as I talk with people and explain to them why I came all the way from Seattle to participate in the Save the Schools March. So many people truly don’t know. And, unfortunately, some of these people make policy decisions.
I want to begin by sharing one of my greatest concerns, and one of the reasons I felt so moved to travel to DC. Jonathan Kozol says it much more eloquently than I. So, I videotaped his speech to the thousands of teachers who came. In his speech, he says that segregation in schools today is worse than it’s ever been since 1968. I’m seeing the inequalities in my school, where the education my students, 80% of whom get free or reduced lunch, is not the same as the education on the other side of town in the affluent neighborhood. Their parents wouldn’t allow the arts, science, and social studies to be absent from their child's program. But, we remove it altogether, or we offer a truncated version of it for our low-income students. And the result, as Kozol attests, is a modern-day version of Jim Crow in our schools.
He ends his speech with the words, "I don't care what happens to me, or what price I may be forced to pay, but I intend to fight in this struggle to my dying day." Thank you, Jonathan Kozol. I think we'll have a lot to talk about in the year ahead.