Behind Bars

Apartheid Schools

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Generations after the alleged landmark decision, Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), which outlawed segregation in public schools, millions of American students trudge every day to what can only be called Apartheid schools.

The schools are not only predominantly Black and Latino, but they’re invariably underfunded, poorly resourced, badly staffed, and woefully shabby.

States and local governments customarily divert funding to white and suburban schools, which often look more like college campuses; a sharp contrast to urban schools, which look like, smell like, and operate like juvenile prisons.

In Jonathan Kozol’s 2005 book, Shame of the Nation (Three Rivers Press) is found a wealth of tales from half-a-dozen states, documenting the immense and horrific damage done to millions of Black and Latino children, who are taught, daily, that their dreams, hopes and lives are of little social worth.

They are children of No Child Left Behind, a punitive and repressive law, which subjects them to mindless tests, which only serve to undermine real learning, discourages real teachers, and enriches testing agencies. It is called education, but it kills the mind.

And what is the Obama administration’s response? Mend it; don’t end it. An act that has caused so much social carnage as this! Why can’t it be repealed?

No Child Left Behind has been a disaster.

Isn’t it time to end it?, March 17, 2010