Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the real heroes

Yesterday I dragged Ezra with me to a rally in downtown Amherst, in the dark rain. Okay, so I did not have to drag him, lately he wants to go wherever I go, even if I say it's a boring meeting. There were about 30-40 other people there, some with kids in tow, many Spanish speaking. Professors, restaurant workers, moms, dads, students. All of us trying to stand up for the most vulnerable among us: the minorities, the low income, the kids. For some reason, and in the name of anti-segregation, the town board with support from many townspeople who are mainly white and seriously privileged, thinks that bussing the kids who receive free or reduced lunches around to disburse them more equally will somehow create equity.

These people do not understand the meaning of equity. Equity does not always mean THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY and clustering is not segregation. Minorities or non-English speakers or low income children, can benefit from being in a community with more of the same. If a town has a large population of Cambodians, placing them in the same school can allow that school to specialize in their language and culture and those children and their families will benefit from that specialization. It goes the same for any group of people. The town board is basing their decision on one study of a population of urban minorities and how they benefited from being placed in a suburban school system. This comparison is ridiculous and huge decisions like this cannot be based solely on ONE STUDY. That is ludicrous. Can I scream now?

How can these educated people call this segregation? How will my children benefit from being moved out of a top performing elementary school in their own community and being BUSSED to a school filled with privileged kids from the other side of town?

Somehow, I feel that if the privileged kids had to be bussed, the town would be in an uproar.

So, after this rally I had a half hour before my tutoring session with this young girl with ADHD. And then I had work to do. So, I did not have a lot of time and energy for an Ezra fit, But he had plenty of time and energy for one.

And so I missed the important meeting after the rally. And I felt so horrible. But I felt stretched to the limits.

AND I just want to thank all of the people out there who have everything stacked against them: socioeconomic status, race, class, single parenthood, lactose intolerance etc. and who still manage to go to a rally, got to a mtg. get out there and make their voices heard. They are the real heroes.

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