Dear Deborah, You say that schools are now, for “the second time…at the center of the civil rights movement.” The schools in the 1950s were certainly at the center of the legal battle for civil rights, to be sure, and the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 was the key decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that paved the way for court rulings and legislative actions on many other fronts. But the civil rights movement of the 1950s had much larger goals than school desegregation. To have won the Brown decision without also moving on many ...


Dear Diane, I got a few blasts for the comments you liked on Klein/Sharpton/Gingrich’s (EEP) civil rights efforts. It hit a nerve. Our obsession with schools is both a healthy and an unhealthy aspect of the American psyche. This is, at least, the second time we’ve placed schools at the center of the civil rights movement. Dr. King moved on to other issues—above all to poverty—before he died. But poverty was less appealing to the conscience of the country, and he isn’t remembered for that work. We have a very strong heritage...


Dear Deborah, I was glad to read your comments on the faux-Education Equality Project (EEP), now headed by New York City’s Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and the Reverend Al Sharpton, with the assistance of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The papers used to call Klein and Sharpton the odd couple; now they will have to refer to the leaders as the odd trio. I have wondered why veterans of the civil rights movement of the 20th Century were willing to sit by silently and see their language corrupted by present-day politicians. The civil rights movement was about dignity, justice, ...


Dear Diane, It would have chilled Martin Luther King’s blood to see how the struggle for equality has been narrowed into a race for higher test scores in a society that abandoned Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” We are now one of the least equal and least mobile modem societies. Less racist than we once were, but no less disdainful of “losers.” Our individualistic modes of thought have gotten badly skewed to just mean “it’s your own fault.” Or if blame must be placed, it’s the fault of those on the next rung up the ladder. ...


Dear Deborah, You seem to believe that I was chastising "the poor" for their lack of manners. Not at all! We live in an age when manners, self-discipline, respect for others, civility, and courtesy are in short supply in all parts of society. Like you, I have encountered many children from comfortable, middle-class, and affluent backgrounds who were spoiled, undisciplined, selfish, and disrespectful of others. I agree that no social class has a monopoly on manners and behavior. The subject came up in the context of David Brooks' column about "The Harlem Miracle." Brooks made the point that the results ...


The opinions expressed in Bridging Differences are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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