December 14, 2005
Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in
In the permanent turbulent distraction that is the Bush Administration, we are often forced to forget the true issues of social justice that we face as a nation. In an age when sloganeering and demagoguery pass for "moral values," we have lost our ability to focus on the most basic needs of a thriving democracy.
Jonathan Kozol, who cut his teeth on chronicling the "savage inequalities" in America's educational system, returns with a disturbing book on the resegregation of our public schools. Even if one were to accept the racist doctrine of separate but equal overturned by the Supreme Court in 1954, Kozol proves that there could be no such thing. The reality is that separate is never equal.
As with all things Bush, his "leave no child behind" initiative is nothing but an empty slogan. True to his overall policy, his actual policy is "I don't care if you leave every child behind, except for the children of the wealthy."
Using fear, bullying, lies and intimidation, the Bush Administration has kept us from tending to what ails us as a country. Kozol reminds us that we are abandoning a whole new generation of children by shortchanging them in the classroom. In many ways, we are moving in reverse.
In a commentary in The Nation magazine, Kozol recently noted: "Apartheid education, rarely mentioned in the press or openly confronted even among once-progressive educators, is alive and well and rapidly increasing now in the United States. Hypersegregated inner-city schools -- in which one finds no more than five or ten white children, at the very most, within a student population of as many as 3,000 -- are the norm, not the exception, in most northern urban areas today."
It is another sign that we are failing our moral fiber test as a society.
Instead of a fruitful, productive education for all our children, the Bush administration just feeds us with platitudes -- and then gives the funds for our schools to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts and to defense contractors who contribute to the Republican Party.
It is inexcusable and unforgivable. It is, indeed, "the shame of the nation."