Friday, September 17, 2004

On Education, Part I

In light of a Texas judge's finding this week that the state system of financing its public schools is unconstitutional, there could be no better time for a series of posts regarding public education, Jesus' teachings, and the Social Gospel.

Quoting the Dallas Morning News: In remarks preceding his order, the judge called on the state to focus on the "significant" achievement gap between economically disadvantaged and more affluent students – noting that half the students in Texas fall into the disadvantaged category. "The key to changing our future is to close the gap in academic achievement between the haves and the have-nots," he said, adding that the "rub" is the cost of closing the gap needed to improve instruction for those students.

Jesus obviously had something to say about the haves and the have-nots, and these teachings would undoubtedly have been even more scathing if the people at stake were children. It is a social sin of the highest magnitude for the state - that's all of us voters - to provide one child with more opportunity than another, all under the guise of equality.

In his award winning book documenting his observations in public schools, Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools, Jonathan Kozol makes it clear just what is at stake:

"Nine years from now, most of these children will go on to Manley High School, an enormous, ugly building just a block away that has a graduation rate of only 38 percent. Twelve years from now, by junior year of high school, if the neighborhood statistics hold true for these children, 14 of these 23 boys and girls will have dropped out of school. Fourteen years from now, four of these kids, at most, will go to college. Eighteen years from now, one of those four may graduate from college, but three of the 12 boys in this kindergarten will already have spent time in prison. If one stands here in this kindergarten room and does not know these things, the moment seems auspicious. But if one knows the future that awaits them, it is terrible to see their eyes look up at you with friendliness and trust – to see this and to know what is in store for them.”


At 2:24 PM, Blogger jrl20 said...

I agree that the social gospel is obviously implicated in the social decision to give disadvantaged children a grossly inferior education. Its unacceptable from a Christian standpoint. I know this is only "Part I," but I want to ask what you think the solution is? Is this a problem we can fix by just throwing more money at the schools?


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