Hello... It's been a long time... again. So sorry. I actually have been doing a lot of homework, really I have. And exploring Chicago. That too. :)
We've been learning about a lot of interesting, but difficult stuff in class. In addition to gentrification and everything that comes with it, recently we've talked about educational inequalities. We recently read an article by Jonathan Kozol, author of several books on the public school system, about this very subject. I'll include a few of the paragraphs so you can get a sense of what the article says since it's pretty long, but I'll also include the link in case you want to read more.
"Many Americans who live far from our major cities and who have no firsthand knowledge of the realities to be found in urban public schools seem to have the rather vague and general impression that the great extremes of racial isolation that were matters of grave national significance some thirty-five or forty years ago have gradually but steadily diminished in more recent years. The truth, unhappily, is that the trend, for well over a decade now, has been precisely the reverse. Schools that were already deeply segregated twenty-five or thirty years ago are no less segregated now, while thousands of other schools around the country that had been integrated either voluntarily or by the force of law have since been rapidly resegregating."
"High school students whom I talk with in deeply segregated neighborhoods and public schools seem far less circumspect than their elders and far more open in their willingness to confront these issues. "It's more like being hidden," said a fifteen-year-old girl named Isabel I met some years ago in Harlem, in attempting to explain to me the ways in which she and her classmates understood the racial segregation of their neighborhoods and schools. 'It's as if you have been put in a garage where, if they don't have room for something but aren't sure if they should throw it out, they put it there where they don't need to think of it again.'
I asked her if she thought America truly did not 'have room' for her or other children of her race. 'Think of it this way,' said a sixteen-year-old girl sitting beside her. 'If people in New York woke up one day and learned that we were gone, that we had simply died or left for somewhere else, how would they feel?'
'How do you think they'd feel?' I asked.
'I think they'd he relieved,' this very solemn girl replied."
I'm going to be writing a paper about the disparities in education within the Chicagoland public school system, so I'll probably have more to say about this in a month or two. In the meantime, it's a little food for thought!
On a side, and more uplifting, note, I'm writing this from a great little cafe I found 10 minutes from my apartment. It's cute AND there's free wi-fi. What a find!