Written in 1995, the year many of the students in our class were born, Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol was written. At first look at the title I thought this was going to be all about the Catholic Race. As I read though I discovered the reasoning of the title. All over the pages I wrote "Wow!" or "Interesting" even "Crying :(". One thought that posted instantly into my head was why are we rushing to third world countries if even our country needs help. I decided to analyze three of the most important points of the story.
"At the elementary school that serves the neighborhood across the avenue, only 7 of 800 children do not qualify for free school lunches. 'Five of those seven' says the principal, 'get reduced-price lunches, because they are classified as only 'poor', not ''destitute'."
800 students in one school is an incredibly high number in my opinion. The other part of this quote that surprised me was that poor to destitute is different so I decided to investigate other view points. When researching the topic I found an amazing article. They begin the article talking about the children in poverty and the difference between free and reduced lunches. This quote is an important part of this article. I state this because throughout the article the narrator is speaking to a young boy who talks a good amount about his neighborhood and what goes on. He knows more than any elementary child should about heroin and murder.
"What is it like for children to grow up here? What do they think the world has done to them? Do they believe that they are being shunned or hidden by society? If so, do they think they deserve this? What is it that enables some of them to pray? When they pray, what do they say to God?"
Wow. Deep questions that no one really wants the answer to. It seems gruesome, difficult, and aggravating to live in the way they do. As I a child I believe I would have blamed my parents for not trying hard enough, when really the child should blame society for sticking them into a high death rate city, to just hide the problems. So yes, they do think they are hidden. They know they did nothing to do this, being so young. A person cannot decide where they will be born in this world, but they can decide where they will die. Obviously they all still have hope in God since they go to the neighborhood church so often. This is the most powerful part of the article. These questions make you think through the entire article and even three hours later.
"'My teacher says, 'We came here in chains and now we buy our own chains and we put them on ourselves.' Every little store sells chains. They even have them at check-cashing..."
The teacher makes a fair point is placed perfectly in the ending paragraphs. Why hold yourself bake by being one of the 8,000 people in their neighborhood that does heroin. As I type the word I wonder why "hero" is placed in this disgusting word. Heroin is no hero. Many that do heroin believe it is, because it makes them forget the chains that are attached to them. But they are only adding heavier weights to the end of those chains. The only way to let them disappear is by leaving the lifestyle and becoming something that makes you happy all the time.Discussion Question
My question for the class is what would you answer to the questions that Kozol asks the readers. Why does this happen? How do we fix this? When will this be solved? What can we do? Do we care enough? Where else is issues like these happening? As future educators what can we do to help prepare students for the things ahead and the chains that need to be lifted.