Separate and Unequal

Guest post by Nikhil Goyal, A 16 Year Old Out to Put a Dent In the Universe | Cross posted at Nikhil Goyal

This Sunday’s New York Times features a hard hitting piece entitled ‘Why Don’t We Have Any White Kids?’ as part of the series “A System Divided.” It delves into the racial schisms of Explore Charter School, a K-8 school in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Of the school’s 502 students from kindergarten through eighth grade this school year, 92.7 percent are black, 5.7 percent are Hispanic, and a scattering are of mixed race. None are white or Asian.  
As more charter schools take over “failed” public schools, the resegregation of New York’s public school system has transpired. As a country, we are still attempting to justify the concept of separate but equal schools — the idea overturned by Brown v. Board of Education more than half a century ago. The 2010 campaign by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s administration to expand charter schools was dubbed “the fight of our life” in a recently released email by the city.  
The current obsession with creating even more charter schools has done very little to improve the outcomes of poor black and Latino students. The evidence suggests that charter schools are not a systemic silver bullet to America’s education crisis. In fact, they make the crisis worse, not only exacerbating inherent inequalities, but also distracting the public’s attention from our society’s ills.  
The emphasis on test preparation is uncanny at charter schools. Read this line from the piece:

“A great deal of teaching is done to the state tests, the all-important metric by which schools are largely judged. In the hallway this spring, before the tests, a calendar counted down the days remaining until the next round.”
What kind of sane parent, regardless of ethnic or social background, would want to send their kids to a school that drills kids all day long for a bogus exam that means absolutely nothing?
Put simply, the city turns a blind eye to the disadvantaged children of the education system — black, white, or purple. The situation has turned ugly after ten years of a billionaire running the show — a billionaire who hasn’t a clue what it means to live on less than a couple of million a year. In parallel, as Arianna Huffington may have put it, this is simply becoming a ‘Third World’ city.  
Across the board, schools deserve adequate resources and brilliant teachers no matter the zip code. Is the City of New York doing enough for the kids at Explore Charter School? Absolutely not!  
Compliments to Emily Berl, The New York Times
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