If you grow up in the South Bronx today or in south-central Los Angeles or Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, you quickly come to understand that you have been set apart and that there's no will in this society to bring you back into the mainstream.
An awful lot of people come to college with this strange idea that there's no longer segregation in America's schools, that our schools are basically equal; neither of these things is true.
At present, black children are more segregated in their public schools than at any time since 1968. In the inner-city schools I visit, minority children typically represent 95 percent to 99 percent of class enrollment.
The greatest difference between now and 1964, when I began teaching, is that public policy has pretty much eradicated the dream of Martin Luther King.
Separate and unequal didn't work 100 years ago. It will not work today.
Our nation's oldest sin and deepest crime is the isolation of minority children - black children, in particular - in schools that are not only segregated but shamefully unequal.
During the decades after Brown v. Board of Education there was terrific progress. Tens of thousands of public schools were integrated racially. During that time the gap between black and white achievement narrowed.
Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.
I once made a check of all books in my fourth-grade classroom. Of the slightly more than six hundred books, almost one quarter had been published prior to the bombing of Hiroshima; 60 percent were either ten years old or older.
Apartheid does not happen spontaneously, like bad weather conditions.
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