Gerald Bracey has something to say to critics who believe a child’s economic background is not a factor in their learning.
When people have said “poverty is no excuse,” my response has been, “Yes, you’re right. Poverty is not an excuse. It’s a condition. It’s like gravity. Gravity affects everything you do on the planet. So does poverty.”
He continues by offering some “brief snap shots of life at Tyler Heights”, a poor school in a rich suburb between Washington DC and Baltimore, Maryland, from a book about their students.
Especially stark, Bracey notes, is the contrast between the activities undertaken by kids at a school in a nearby “better” neighborhood and the work done by those at Tyler Heights.
“The practice of focusing on the tested subjects of reading and math at the expense of a well-rounded curriculum is far more prevalent where children are poor and minority” says Perlstein [author of Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade]. “President Bush, in introducing NCLB, vowed to banish the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ for the nation’s disadvantaged children. To condemn them to a rudimentary education in the name of improvement is bigotry too.”