taken for granted in modern American society. If a child cannot afford to attend
a private or parochial school, which are generally seen as better than the alternative,
then they go to public school. The assumption is made, because of compulsory attendance
laws, and the societal emphasis on childhood learning, no matter what, a child
is getting an education. Unfortunately, attendance is not a prerequisite for education.
A child in a classroom faces many obstacles that should not be faced at such an
early age. Instead of the next spelling test that pupil must deal with issues
from discrimination to shoddy facilities to a lack of funding per pupil. In some
communities children are bussed forty miles to their schools. The difference between
the spending of suburban communities per student and urban communities per student
is quite enormous. How can our society expect to survive when under-privileged
urban children are not even being given the chance to compete on an equal footing
with their suburban counterparts? Children should be allowed to be children. No
child should ever bear the burden of adult concerns until they are ready. For
the past thirty-five years, Jonathon Kozol has been an advocate for children.
He points out the discrepancies that make our educational system so blatantly
hypocritical. He is not the only advocate of the forgotten pupil, yet he has been
among the most vocal and active.
one] can tell us what it means to a child to leave his often hellish
home and go to a school -his hope for a transcendent future-that
is literally falling apart."