Evaluation of “Still Separate, Still Unequal”
Segregation of American schools is still alive and well. Schools once thought to have desegregated are proving this to be a falsehood based on observances by Jonathan Kozol. In his article “Still Separate, Still Unequal” Kozol examines the epidemic of inadequate education in the schools whose students are predominately black and Hispanic. Despite legislation to prevent the segregation of schools based on race, modern schools are remarkably segregated.
In city after city Kozol shows examples of schools that have percentages of races that are far from diverse. The poorest schools are more than 90 percent black or Hispanic. Many of these schools are names after the very people that worked very hard to obtain the equality that now mocks their very names. Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Rosa Parks adorn some of the poorest, least diverse schools in their cities.
Kozol provides a compelling argument providing that the willingness of the northern cities to continue to charge southern states with the crime of segregation without acknowledging the same issue in their own cities ensuring the continued proliferation of separate educations for the races. Schools continually use phrases to describe a school that is much different from the reality. Kozol says “School systems themselves repeatedly employ euphemism in describing the composition of their student populations.” (p. 205) However, when asked by Kozol, students at these schools expressed feelings of sadness stemming from feeling that their races are unwelcome and unwanted. “Hidden away” is the prevailing assumption of the students when asked what they thought about the segregation they experience in school even when the school proclaims one of diversity.
Speaking to elementary school students Kozol ask why others have when they do not. They have an awareness far beyond their age of the inequality of the world. They see other schools with gardens, safe places to play, and music and art classes. Observing unequal facilities also shows the poorest are often the first to lose. Kozol writes of observing make shift schools, over population of classrooms, and serious disrepair to the buildings. The health of these children has become a nonissue for those responsible...