Cultural Memes of Educational Funding

(the Shame of the Nation: Separate and Unequal by Nathan Glazer. The New York Times. September 25, 2005)

In the work entitled: “Kozol Discusses “Shame of a Nation” During Hauben Lecture” the author, Brian Whitson states: “The proportion of black students attending public segregated schools is at its highest since the death of civil rights activists Martin Luther King, Jr. is the news related by Kozol to a “…sold out crowd at the Kimball Theatre.” (Whitson, 2006) Whitson relates of Kozols speech at the Kimball Theatre that: “Kozol, who became an educational activist more than 40 years ago when he was fired from an inner-city Boston school for reading to his students a poem by black author Langston Hughes, said he sees the same students as he travels to some of the poorest school divisions in the country. its a case of social and economic segregation, he said. “I dont see a white child in the school,” Kozol told a crowd of more than 400 people. “Many people dont want me to use words like segregation and apartheid. Nobody wants to talk about this anymore but I speak about it all the time.” (Whitson, 2006)

Segregated, apartheid – and great inequalities are said to be present in educational provisions of todays schools throughout the United States. Kozol relates that in schools in the Bronx that there are 11,000 black students and 22 white students. Kozol relates the time he was fired in the early 1960s when he was teaching fourth grade in one of Bostons poorest neighborhoods. All students were black and were learning from “raggedy” books. One day Kozol brought a book of poems by Langston Hughes to the school newly purchased in Harvard Square. Whitson states of Kozol taking the book to class and says Kozol stated: “As soon as the students saw the shiny new book, the entire class went silent. I heard one student whisper, Look, theres a colored man on the cover.” (Kozol, 2003, in Whitson, 2006)

Kozol relates that the following day he was fired for “curriculum deviation..” (Kozol in Whitson, 2006) This began Kozols quest for improvement in public schools and particularly in the poorest areas of the country. Kozol relates that while he is not great at mathematics of the 11,000 students in the Bronx that are black and only 22 that are white Kozol states “…thats a segregation rate of 99.8%. Two-tenths of one percentage point now marks the difference between legally enforced apartheid in the South of 50 years ago and socially and economically enforced apartheid in almost all our major cities.” (Whitson, 2006) in his work Kozol states:: Affluent Manhattan parents sometimes donate private funds to supplement the parsimony of the state, using private money, for example, to reduce the size of classes and to hire extra teachers in the local elementary schools, giving their children the individual attention long denied to children in poor sections of the city like Mott Haven, and thereby providing their own children with a better chance of winning entrance to the citys very few truly distinguished secondary schools. This basically self-serving and undemocratic practice adds another layer of injustice to the many inequalities already faced by children of the poor. ” (Shame of the Nation, 2000) most wonderful example of the dilemma between the business driven model of education and the reality model of education is described in the work of Eric S. Piotrowski (2003) entitled: “A Profit without Honors: Against the Business Model of Education” which states a:

parable of the teacher who teaches a guest business lecturer a lesson on management policy. After hearing about the need for a quality product and better results in education. Vollmer, the guest speaker who is an executive for an ice cream company seeks to link high quality of the corporate enterprise with educational outcomes and a teacher “grills the speaker: Mr. Vollmer, she said, learning forward wit a wicked eyebrow raised to the sky, when you are standing on your receiving dock and you see an inferior shipment of blueberries arrive, what do you do? in the silence of the room, I could hear the trap snap. I was dead meat, but I wasnt going to lie. I send them back. Thats right! she barked, and we can never send back our blueberries. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, abused, frightened, confident, homeless, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD, junior rheumatoid arthritis, and English as their second language.

We take them all! Every one! And that, Mr. Vollmer, is why its not a business. its school.” (Piotrowski, 2003)

This example corporate influence on education is stated along with another story reported in The School Administrator published by the American Association of School Administrators that relates that Dental policy evaluating dentists rating them as Excellent, Good, Average, below Average and Unsatisfactory are conducted by counting all the cavities each patient has and then averaging however, this is not accurate since some dentists in poorer areas will be rated poorly based upon other factors that are beyond their control. This is said to be important to keep in mind in terms of education, or specifically it is necessary to cognitively assess the methods in which the findings are presented and manipulated in order to show specifically desired outcomes. It is related in this work that teachers are given orders for improvement on tests to be shown at all times “regardless of individual circumstances, and are not given corresponding resources to make it happen.” (Piotrowski, 2003) the high stakes while very bad are..” compounded by what has been come to be known as the uncertainty principle of sociology: the more important than any quantitative social indicators becomes in social decision-making the more likely it will be to distort and corrupt the social process it is intended to monitor. This means that, when rewards (or punishments) or money and other resources are attached to the outcome of the test, it is often worthless as an indicator of the schools progress.” (Piotrowski, 2003) Teacher are ordered to “teach the test” and stress and anxiety have been the factors characterizing classrooms since the No Child Left Behind Act began leaving so very many students so very far behind. Teachers are being called cookie cutters who only read scripts to children and fail to actually teach. Corporations through media advertisement have infiltrated the classroom as corporations and industries work to influence the future workforce in terms of preparing for entry into the hierarchical business society in todays marketplace.

The work of Corrales entitled: “The Politics of Education Reform Implementation” informs this study that “many governments traditionally relied on educational systems as mechanisms for political co-optation. Teaching positions are often treated as a form of employment of last resort, very often in compensation for some type of political favor.” (Corrales, 1999) Corrales states four hypotheses about strategies and institutional settings which include: (1) type and style of reform; (2) political strategies to bolster the supply of reform; (3) political strategies to bolster the demand for reform; and (4) institutional features that magnify or diminish the power of veto groups. (Corrales, 1999) Institutional barriers and structural barriers are much one in the same. Most notably are the structural barriers in urban schools which are stated to demonstrate “chronic patterns of academic underperformance, leading to dropout rates of 30% and higher.” (Farrington, 2006) the problem is that the “traditional structure of achievement…places a premium on accumulated course credit rather than learning.” (Farrington, 2006) Structural barriers are stated to be factors directly arising from poverty: “…parental job loss or divorce and resultant family instability…” (Farrington, 2006)


It is critical to understand the traditional and historical programming and socialization that has occurred through politicization, news media, religiosity, civic membership, clubs, groups, committees, churches and all the many and various methods and tools used by the group or indeed the hive of human beings that form todays societal structures and organizations. Education is most emphatically and most decidedly not characterized by equality or segregation in the United States and neither are schools equally in receipt of funding and resources. The fact is that schools in the more affluent neighborhoods of America are the schools that receive more funding and more resources while inner-city schools in poor urban areas receive very little in the way of funding.


This cultural memes has been programmed into American society very deeply and has entrenched deeply within the mind of individuals, groups, churches, businesses and other structure in todays society in the United States. Media furthers this illusion and does not report the tragic facts in todays educational system. Politicians certainly fail to acknowledge the problem and even civil rights activists fail today to speak loudly enough to garner the attention of the American society. Businesses and corporations further.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *