I just finished listening to this week’s This American Life and found myself yelling at the radio in shock and anger throughout the episode. Once again, politicians and regular members of the American public refuse to look at actual, scientific data and fix a problem we have throughout this country: segregated schools.
I know. It sounds like the Fifties all over again, but it’s true. The example school district used in the story is Normandy, MO. The district that is fed by the recently famous city of Ferguson, MO. I highly recommend you listen to it, but the basic gist is that poor school districts around the country are segregated schools because, racially speaking, poor black families live in these areas and poor white families tend to live in more middle-class areas (according to the research cited in the story) thus creating segregated school systems. The solution to this problem is actually simple and over sixty years old: INTEGRATION. Yet, no one wants to do it. Why? Because people suck. (Read “suck” as “are racist assholes who won’t admit they are racist assholes.”)
Year after year, the government comes up with a new Band-Aid to put on the “education” problem in poor school districts: Common Core, charter schools, vouchers, closing failing schools, increased testing, high stakes evaluations of teachers, etc. And all of them have done NOTHING to help the problem. This is because POVERTY is the problem. The district gets its money from the taxpayers in the district who don’t make that much money so they don’t pay a lot of taxes, so the district doesn’t have much money, so the district is poor in every sense of the word. But when poor black students are integrated into wealthier (not wealthy necessarily, but WEALTHIER) predominantly white schools, the achievement gap is HALVED in ONE YEAR.
This country has come a long way since the 1950s, but not in what we may think it has. We are still racist, sexist, xenophobic pigs who can only focus on keeping what is ours ours and not sharing anything with anyone else. And if there is a profit to be made somewhere, we will seize that opportunity no matter the cost.
Sure, anyone can get married now, but there are entire state governments trying to find loopholes around that. Sure, women can hold all kinds of jobs now and advance to the highest levels of business and politics, but members of the government, including whole states, are cutting funding to women’s health programs that insure the safety and well-being of many of this country’s women. And the children? Most of the governments in this country, from the local to the federal, have basically said “fuck you” to the children. From cutting free lunch programs, closing libraries and local schools to profiting off of education, trying to rescind Obamacare that provides families with the ability to see doctors for low cost, and instilling widespread fear and paranoia that makes parents keep their children locked up in their homes, kids in America are screwed from BEFORE they are even born. Why? Mainly because politicians and CEOs want as much money as they can put in their own pockets and the rest of the population is too afraid to stand up for what is right because those same politicians and CEOs have managed to pit us against EACH OTHER rather than letting us focus for a moment on them.