An eighth grader in upstate New York has ruffled some feathers with an essay that casts the public school system as modern slavery.

I wish I hadn’t clicked on the hyperlink, because – at face value – she seemed so right. Public schools discriminate based on geography under threat of imprisonment and their machine politics tightly contract the choices and opportunities for millions of students.

Alas, it boiled down to race: 

13 year-old Jada Williams,writing an essay on Frederick Douglass for a contest, made the very astute analysis that packing 30-40 students into a crowded classroom, and having mostly white teachers give them packets and pamphlets to complete that they don’t fully comprehend, impedes the learning process; and that this produces results similar to those hoped for by a slave master that forbids his slaves from learning how to read at all.

Jada’s point is that nothing has really changed since the days of Frederick Douglass; “the same old discrimination still resides in the hearts of the white man.”

It’s an ill-made comparison, and terribly offensive, but at least she’s questioning the system. Maybe she’ll get it right next time. :-)

Update: Apparently Ms. Williams was more astute than the article leads to believe. (Thank you to the readership here at LI!)

 
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