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Christian Jason 3 AP Senior English Ms. Chamberlain 4/7/2008 A Closed Eye to Segregation in America A response to Jonathon Kozol's "Still Separate, Still Unequal" In the article Still Separate Still Equal by Jonathon Kozol, he states that many Americans believe that racism only faintly exists. After the Civil Rights Movement and lessons taught in school, we Americans have come to a false realization that we have conquered prejudice, namely segregation. Facts and figures piled high confront the nation with the reality of segregation, but few realize the contrast in White American education and Black or Hispanic American education. The numbers stack high in favor of Jonathon Kozols viewpoint. Over 90% of larger schools in larger cities have less than 10% of white children in their schools. These numbers reach more extremes in New York where at Adlai Stevenson High some school officials go so far as to state that their schools "address the needs of children from diverse backgrounds" when only 3% of the schools population consists of white children. Few facts exist that contrast Kozols viewpoint. Sometimes, numbers simply do not state a fact as well as words. Visits to underprivileged schools are included in Kozols article. In these visits, the writer finds some schools not simply unsatisfactory, but disgusting. The bathrooms "lack basic supplies" (toilet paper), most had no air-conditioning, and "rat droppings were found in bins and drawers" in the kitchen. Although the government does not admit that the problem is economic, Kozol intently writes to the fact that "if we did not have a deeply segregated system" then the matter of underprivileged children would be much higher on the agenda. Throughout his article, Kozol makes several points each supporting the idea that segregation still exists in America. While Kozol does persuade my viewpoint, he does exaggerate some points to an extent in order to portray his viewpoint. The most striking evidence is in favor of Kozols viewpoint. He begins by stating the numbers relating to segregation. His techniques of using strong factual evidence work well and are very persuasive. He not only states a fact, but supplies pages of evidence to back up his statement. It is hard to argue against numbers so blatantly printed. His introduction hooks the reader to his viewpoint; however, it does slowly die off with his use of extremes. It is hard to believe that there are no, or very few, schools that have a majority of Caucasian children who are underprivileged. Nevertheless, his point stands strong. striking Another piece of evidence is the viewpoint of the government officials. While it is acceptable for an official to simply state that money makes only a small impact on education, it is extremely hypocritical to then send his or her child to an "exclusive private preschool...named ,,baby ivies" costing $24,000 for a day program. Then, the official may send his or her children to prep school for more than $30,000 a year. How these officials "look(s) me (Kozol) in the eyes and asks me whether you can really buy your way to education for the children of the poor." While Kozol proves to be extremely persuasive, his writing techniques are sometimes too obvious. There are times that I feel I am being manipulated to his viewpoint. When children write to him, he refuses to correct the spelling errors made in their letters. One girl wants to have the same school that other "kings" have. Kozol uses this to imply that the children do not have the simple grammar skills to write complete letters. Did I mention that these children are in second grade? He also uses their misspellings to make me have sympathy and maybe pity for the children. While it is a good technique, it does leave me feeling maneuvered. Also, Kozol does not mention much about this opposite view: segregation is a small problem in America. There are some questions left unanswered. For example, most of the schools that are still segregated are located in communities largely made up of minorities. It is very unlikely that a Caucasian American would like to attend this school being out of the way. Are there schools located in white communities that are underprivileged? If so, how can the facts considering the segregation be used as evidence supporting the idea of minorities being underprivileged? What our government needs to do is to decide which direction we intend to move towards with our educational planning. Kozols article may be a foundation for change in America. As it is, President Bush is trying his best. While it may not account for much, the government understands that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Maybe funding needs to be increased. Maybe different teaching methods need to be enforced. Maybe the Skinnerian approach, a teaching method used in prisons and drugrehabilitation centers, should be enforced. I do not have the answer. Nevertheless, these are children at stake, children who need our help. Alliyah, a third grader from the Bronx pleads, "We do not have the things you have...Can you help us?" Whatever we choose to do, we need to take action. ... View Full Document

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