Citing poverty as the source of many of our educational problems is a trope of the left….. and of anyone with two brain cells to rub together. What is left out is the source of the poverty itself, but there’s usually a hint, as Diane Ravitch provides toward the end of her article in Huffington Post
“… high levels of child poverty and intense racial segregation.”
The connection between poverty and race is the result of conscious racism only in some cases; most of us liberals talk about structural racism, the racist practices that derive from policies that are not necessarily motivated by naked racism. One example is funding schools by neighborhood when those neighborhoods resulted from earlier, nakedly racist practices, of segregation, thus concentrating poverty.
But why are segregated neighborhoods poverty-stricken? Clearly, people who can be forced to live in a particular area have no power, and without power, there is little access to wealth or the means of acquiring wealth – the basic wealth of maintaining a roof over your head and food to eat for your family. These means were routinely denied Blacks and other groups as part of ………. and here it is……..
The colonial heritage of this country. Like all countries of the Americas, we started out as colonies, surpressing indigenous populations and importing slaves. Even Canada, O Canada, shares in this.
How does this perspective help us solve contemporary problems of poverty? It tells us the problems are bone-deep, going to the very core of who we are. If you think not, listen to the rants of the NRA, the GOP, and similar organizations giving voice to the frustrated AWM (angry White male): “I want my country back” refers to the state of affairs when the AWM dominated, which has been the state since about 1492. The AWMs and their allies are not going to give up power easily. Controlling the school system is one lever and they are struggling mightily to hold on to it, as Ravitch points out in her stinging rebuke to Kopp and her TFA members who have gone on to support the AWMs through the GOP.