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Fifty Years After Brown v. Board of Education

May 21, 2004

(archived broadcast )
with Special Guest: Hillary Shelton, Director of the NAACP in Washington
Fifty years after Brown, are we still Separate and Unequal?

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  • Mark Levine May 23, 2004 3:52 pm

    I didn’t “assume” a teacher paid $19,000 a year would do a lousy job. I saw it with my own eyes when I took over his class for a semster. He misspelled words on the board, and his entire 45-minute class consisted of kids reading from the social studies textbook while he sat in the back of the room talking with one of the kids. When one of the kids didn’t want to read, he or she didn’t have to. And when one of the kids mispronounced a word or skipped it, the teacher ignored the mistake. I had never seen such horrible teaching in my life.
    Please don’t be insulted, though. I never met to imply that no teacher making $19,000 a year could do an adequate job…only that it is difficult to secure and maintain competent teachers at that salary. I would think, given how lousy this teacher was, that if the school system could have obtained better teachers at that price, it certainly would have.
    I agree that parents play a major role in students’ motivation. But unless you want to take children away from unmotivated parents, I’m afraid it is often up to teachers and administrators to do their best to motivate them, perhaps by meeting with the parents as well. If you have another solution, by all means, let me (and those who read this blog) know. In fact, if you — or someone you know — is a unique and innovative solution, I would welcome you (or the person you suggest) as a guest on my show.
    I do think we agree on priorities. Teachers should be paid more, and federal and state governments need to step up to the plate to equalize a property-tax system that educates the rich and neglects the poor and so plays a major contribution to the cycle of poverty.
    Bonnie, I very much admire your commitment to inner-city education. I only wish we had more teachers like you! And I think paying teachers more is likely to entice more to the field. Dedicated teachers like yourself who work so hard for so little compensation are unfortunately all too rare.

  • Bonnie May 22, 2004 11:09 am

    I was a bit insulted that you assumed that a teacher getting paid $19,000 a year would not do their proper job as a teacher. I myself am a teacher who took a $15,000 a year pay cut to move to Chicago from California. I do my proper job as a teacher of mathematics and am frustrated with the “high stakes” testing that has been going on. Are we as teachers supposed to produce able bodied citizens or are we to produce citizens who can take tests?
    Where in all this political talk is the responsibitlity of parents, administrators and legislators? How can people who have never been in a classroom, let alone an inner city classroom as a teacher, dictate to teachers how to teach, what to teach and how to conduct discipline in the classroom?
    It is all well and good when it is the teacher’s fault that Johny is not learning, but where are the parents in all of this? When will we say, Johny just doesn’t want to learn? I have students that will sit in class and do nothing, no matter how hard I coax them. I try offering tutoring after school, students don’t show up.
    I give my lunch, before school time, and after school time to students and I still have to take papers home to grade them. Teachers do not get paid to take papers home. We only get paid for our time teaching in class. Most teachers will have a top salery of $60,000. With the growing inflation, you have to love to teach in order to stay in the profession. I have been teaching for nine years and the system has not improved, only gotten worse.
    I feel the focus should not be on how to desegregate schools, but to get school systems to the point where they can hire and retain teachers worth their salt. Property taxes in the community are not enough! When will the federal government step up to the plate and put in their fair share, instead of cutting school funding all the time? (Education seems to be one of the top ten things on the list for budget cuts everytime the budget is coming up short.) Why is public education left up to communities only?

  • Gort Beranga May 21, 2004 5:39 pm

    What about the rights of extra-terrestrially-originated Americans–we are still the truly disenfranchised–and what is this thing you Urantians call LOVE? It has the same overt symptoms as the disease called Malaria, except there is a cure for Malaria.