This video is very moving to me as a person who cares about the education of urban students. The students of Baltimore, Maryland are protesting their under funded education system. Real students tell of the hardships they face in their school and education because of the lack of funding. What you may ask is the allocation of funding for public schools? Porperty taxes! This makes no sense what so ever. The children that live in poor communities with low property taxes have less funding. The children that live in wealthier communities have a way better quality of education as well as school. The way funding is allocated is very outdated- it is very hard to believe that this is still acceptable. The students in urban and inner city schools that already face numerous hardships and bad odds are only given worse odds due to their lack of funding in their education.

The inequalities that exist because of the way schools are funded is endless. School integration of whites and African Americans was thought to change the inequalitites that were once so noticable. Now, people tend to see but not really realize the effects that these inequalities are having in present day society. This is amazing to me as someone who believes that urban students should have the same education as students in suburbs.

Former President Bush put the No Child Left Behind Act into law. This creates a set standard for ALL STUDENTS in America’s public school system. The results of standardized tests allocate government funding to the schools and if the scores are bad no funding. WHAT?  How are we suppose to improve our nations must hardships schools in urban environments if we are going to punish them by taking away funding? Government funding needs to be put into the schools in need and not the schools that get the funding from higher property taxed areas.

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This is a great interactive interview type speech by Thomas Sowell that address what has become of the public education system in America. This video is a must watch for any person involved in public education.

Sowell believes that funding, even though may play a part, is not the main factor for the inequalities that exist in our public school system. Standardized testing as well as other testing scores are based on performance. What is performance suppose to be compared to? Why is this the case all all children perform differently and not the same as another? Performance based assessment is ineqaulity when comparing schools from different socialeconomic status.

Grades, yup there important, but how does a teacher decide who gets the B, C +, or A-. Teachers hold so much power in our education system as they rate the performance on their students. The grading system differs from teacher to teacher as well as school to school. How is this grading system equal or legitamate?

Sowell discusses the “teacher shuffel” in America.  It is cheaper for schools to keep moving teachers to different schools than to down right fire them. These bad teachers goes down the list of schools and end up in urban and inner city schools. Why are we having bad teachers teach our students in America that need the most help in their quality of education??? There is no reason for bad teachers to stay in the public school system period.

Another point that Sowell talks about is our American Universities, which he calls ‘International Univeristies’. Our nation’s universities are so well known around the world that it attracts numerous foreign students. But, our universities, wanting to be equal, accept alot of international students which leaves less spots for American students to the point it is very hard to even get into them. We are not investing in post-secondary public education in a way that supports are nation’s future. Our public school system all in all needs a total restructuring that hopfully the Obama administration can make happen.

Personal experiences from inner-city and urban teachers are the best way to see the current realities that face our public education system. I came across an article online that contains the words to a speech entitled, “A Crisis in Inner City Education”, which Frank Marrero, an inner-city teacher in California, gave to legislators in California in 2006.  Marrero talks about his personal experiences in working at an elementary school in Richmond, California which was considered to be the “murder capital of California” at the time. He discusses situations about shootings and death that surround the children at his elementary school. Marrero states how the school’s construction differs from other “normal” schools. He talks about how he personally brought pencils and towel paper to every student because the students lacked them or the school did not provide them. Poverty affects the funding his school receives. Even though the students in the school get a meal before school and lunch for free, he talks of this free food as “prison” quality food. He brings to light the effects standardized testing on poverty stricken, inner city schools. The biggest difference he talks about is the difference he sees in his children’s school and the inner city school he works at.  “I see these two worlds 30 minutes apart nearly every day, and I can’t believe the gulf of disparity is so wide (Marrero).” His children go to an all white school in the suburbs where he teaches at a school in the inner city that consists of mostly African Americans and Latino students. Marrero talks about the education case of Serrano vs. Priest that happened in 1971 near Los Angeles where a school district sued another over funding issues. He touches on California’s Proposition 13 and the effects on education. He talks about some obstacles that inner city schools face in receiving funding. Marrero suggests reforms like the following: a funded pre-school for early learning, ample tutors, and provide incentives for great teachers to teach at the school. He made this speech to bring to light what he sees on a daily basis to legislators trying to bring reform and action in the state of their education. I know that this article is based on a personal situation in California, but the circumstances are very relatable to other inner city struggles found throughout the nation.  

Here’s the link to read the text of the speech online:

http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/er/fm_crisis.html

Jonathan Kozol is an author who writes about his personal experiences within the American Public  school system. His newest book “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America” is a must read. This book brings to light the racial inequalities that still exist within our public school system.  He discusses how schools are still segregated by race as well as social class. The difference between the education that middle to upper class students receive in a suburban school and the education that inner-city and low social economic students recieve is huge. This book is based completely on his first hand experiences within over 60 schools in various states. Kozol provides a lot of comparisons between inner-city education and suburban education. He touches upon military recruitment in schools, No Child Left Behind, and racial integration. Inner-city and urban area teachers can relate to Kozol’s  “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”, since they see what he talks about in real life on a daily basis.

Here is the link for his book review from Education Review- a journal of book reviews:

http://edrev.asu.edu/reviews/rev470.htm