There have been concerns that public schools in the United States have been reverting to levels of segregation which are almost similar to those which existed before the Brown vs. Board supreme court decision of 1954 (Kozol, 2005). One leading authority in this area has been the author Jonathan Kozol. In this essay, I will discuss the influence of poverty on school going children among the black schools in U.S.
According to Kozol, there exist a wide gap between children from the inner-city and those from the suburbs. For instance, education for children from suburbs is largely on how they can learn to think and integrate reality, as their counterparts from inner-city are taught on non-reflective acquiescent (Kozol, 2005).Kozol has a profound experience in writing books about poverty in public schools especially in the American soils. Kozol shows that these kids also have a future and that they can perform well if given a chance (Kozol, 2005). The Charter schools have also been blamed for racial separation and deepening of class differences. As a result, these poor kids are left behind while children of the rich get richer.
Kozol has also intimated that researchers ought to focus more on the psychological effects associated with oppression and poverty (Glazer, 2005). Nathan Glazer, a respected New York Times columnist is in agreement with Kozol on several points and what needs to be done
This is so as to find solutions to the social problems which haunt the children from poor backgrounds, and impede their academic pursuits. Kozol argues that a society must invest more of its resources in social services like employment and healthcare in order to improve the lives and academic performance of children from the disadvantaged backgrounds residing within urban areas (Kozol, 2005).
They cannot afford luxury such as the inquiry or happiness associated with kids from privileged backgrounds. Therefore, some of the issues which the author has addressed are that although segregation does not exist legally, it is still very prevalent in actual practice.
Thus, most public schools in the metropolitan areas have children from different colors (Glazer, 2005). Majority of the white parents aim at giving their children the best possible education in terms of technology and academic quality, and they always do everything to get it. However, majority of the inner-city schools have inefficient resources to provide students with such services. Overcrowding and lack of proper materials and curricula are issues that stick out. By use of expert testimonies and his travels, the author tells of Kozol’s documentation of detailed accounts of the school, staffroom and the laws which exist and how they have trapped the inner city students into the poverty riddled life under which they were born and brought up (Glazer, 2005)
To justify the existing inequalities in the American education, Kozol observes a school whose administrations have been forced by the government to admit many students. In such a case, the student body is divided into two halves; one attending morning classes till midday after which they depart home to pave way for the second group which runs classes throughout the evenings. Using the ‘No Child Left Behind Policy’, the U.S government has introduced a lot of standardized tests but reduced the amount of resources allocated to poorly performing schools. Such tests consumes more of the students’ academic time throughout the year. Also, the school academic curriculums do overely on curriculum materials only (Glazer, 2005).
As a result, the tests control the curriculum so much that passing them is about the only thing which is important. The funding aspect is also an important area which appears to have been overlooked by successive governments. As a result, almost the entire student’s bodies in these schools are made up of Hispanic and Black students. Since majority of parents from the white race are able to take their children to private schools, the population of students of black origin in white schools has gone down (Glazer, 2005). This issue serious since a lot of funds is needed in order to provide quality education to children in U.S.
In this New York Times article, the columnist asserts that, in five years before writing this book, Kozol had visited an estimated sixty schools located in thirty different district schools in Eleven States across the United States (Glazer, 2005). The experiences with students, teachers and school principals in these schools made him realize the problems faced by poor students in public schools. However, Glazer argues that Kozol fails to answer question concerning segregation of schools and how it returned into U.S schools.
He hypotheses that probably white resistance has grown or the black’s demand for integration weakened. Further, according to Glazer, Kozol has not explained if increased integration can make any educational difference on the poor Black and Hispanic students. The writer also dwells on Kozol’s insistence that some subjects have been neglected by schools, as the focus has been made on reading and mathematics in the public schools (Glazer, 2005). He names some of these neglected subjects as history, art, music, and social science.
This writer agrees with Kozol that the case for both equality of expenditure in education and integration is strong enough. However, the main stumbling block to achievement of these goals, according to Glazer, is not the indifference of the rich and whites to educational needs of the poor and non whites, although one may be tempted to make such a conclusion from Kozol’s work. According to Glazer, the major obstacles are the values that closely control education in the local areas, freedom from rules imposed by the state which hinders the future development of the disadvantaged children in the society. It is therefore clear that students from poor family backgrounds remain quite disadvantaged when compared with their counterparts from well-off families.