Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jonathan Kozol; Why I will march at S.O.S.


Our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is fond of saying that "Education is the civil rights issue of our time." Is he right about that?
Arne Duncan is recycling exactly the same slogan George W. Bush invented. On its face, it sounds benign. But, in reality, Duncan's policies run directly counter to the purposes of civil rights.
Why have you decided to participate in the Save Our Schools March on July 30th?
California Rally and  March
Saturday, July 30, 11am-3pm
State Capitol Building
1315 10th Street, Sacramento
I'll be in Washington for S.O.S. because I'm sick of begging members of the Senate, even those among them who have been my friends for years, to move two inches in the right direction. I'm tired of complaining. And I'm too old to bite my tongue and mute my words out of politeness and respectfulness for politicians who tell me in private that they share my views about the practices and policies that demean our teachers and threaten the survival of our public schools, but then refuse to stand up and denounce these policies in public.
I think, like many of my oldest friends and youngest allies who will be at S.O.S., it's time for us to get up off our knees in front of this enormous juggernaut and stop bargaining for crumbs. I've begun to see a movement of resistance growing now for several years. I've seen courageous teachers speaking up and reaching out to others. And I've seen the tide of activism start to rise, and surge, among our students and the parents of those students.
I think a moment of critical energy has suddenly emerged. But moments like this come and go unless we seize them at their height.

You published Savage Inequalities back in 1992. What has happened to the level of inequity in our schools in the two decades since then?
The inequalities are greater now than in '92. Some states have equalized per-pupil spending but they set the "equal level" very low, so that wealthy districts simply raise extra money privately. And, even within a single urban district, parents in rich neighborhoods cluster together at a single school, then hold fund-raisers for that school, using celebrities to pull out a wealthy crowd, and raise as much as half-a-million dollars in a single night. No one forces them to share this money with the schools for poor kids that might be just three blocks away. The system is more savage now than ever.

Read the entire interview. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2011/07/time_to_get_off_our_knees_why.html
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