Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Apartheid

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The School System: a Joyless Experience?

In his essay “Still Separate, Still Unequal: America’s Educational Apartheid,” Jonathan Kozol brings our attention to the apparent growing trend of racial segregation within America’s urban and inner-city schools (309-310). Kozol provides several supporting factors to his claim stemming from his research and observations of different school environments, its teachers and students, and personal conversations with those teachers and students. As we first take a look at the frightening statistics Kozol provides, this claim of segregation becomes so much more real. As evidenced in the text, the vast majority of enrollment in most of the public schools in our major cities is black or Hispanic: 79%
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Unlike the white children, many who get enrolled in extraordinary early education programs, children of less fortunate backgrounds are not privy to these programs. Yet all are tested at the same levels. It seems very unfair to base the funding on this factor alone, as children who attended the early education programs have six or seven extra years of education and are naturally going to score higher on these tests. This disparity in funding further widens the gap of segregation between the students; white students seem to be getting more advanced, while black and Hispanics students are falling more behind.
The most compelling factor in Kozol’s essay is the “drill-based” educational program, Success for All (SFA). Although its mission of ensuring that all students from all backgrounds achieve at the highest levels, it does just the opposite. Students usually do not receive the appropriate curriculum, and more importantly, are paired with unqualified teachers (Kozol 316-320). This SFA program is mostly present in inner-city schools and is not tailored to the individual needs of students; average students, students below the average, and students above the average are placed in the same bucket. These students attend the same classes and are placed on the same educational path: the vocational path. So, even the students who have college potential are under-promoted and pushed into classes that gear them toward vocational

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