I'm currently working towards getting my master's degree, and for one of my classes I had to read Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol. In general, I didn't think it was the greatest of books. He makes some good points, blah blah blah, but I wasn't blown away. Kozol's argument essentially comes down to money, and I think that money is not the biggest thing.
However, it got me thinking about what the biggest thing actually is. And I think the biggest single policy we could adopt to fix urban education would be desegregation. I teach in a school that is 100% minority. There are literally no white children. Similarly, there are many schools in affluent parts of this country that have literally no black children. Kozol cites several statistics stating that the vast majority of black and hispanic children go to schools that are majority black and hispanic. Our schools are incredibly segregated.
We are living in a multiracial society with a black president and a relatively colorful congress, and yet black children and white children do not go to school together. Rather than focus on the newest "reform" agenda, the latest program, or the biggest expenditure, we should end the segregation of American schools. Diversity is a good thing, and we should create public education policies that encourage it in our schools. If that means busing students to different schools or providing incentives for children to go to different schools, then so be it. Our children would all benefit.
That's my two cents.
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