2011 vs. 1790

This past Sunday, MSNBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reported that in 2009, there were approximately 600,000 African-American men and women in jail in America which is almost equal to the amount of enslaved Africans in America back in 1790. 

See the clip on incarceration vs. education here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

This statistic is turning over and over in my mind, I think of the Langston Hughes poem Harlem, “Does it fester like a sore and then run,” as I contemplate the state of our education in the U.S. and how it relates to the current state of incarceration in America. Current research highlights that there is a direct correlation between failing schools and high incarceration rates in communities across the country.

The Obama administration calls the education crisis in our country the “civil rights issue of our time”. I too think this crisis is a civil rights or social issue. But more importantly, it is also a uniquely human issue. Real lives hang in the balance. 

However (as the Supreme Court has debated), it is not necessarily unconstitutional that every child does not have equal access to a good public education. If equal access to a good pre-K through 12th education is not a constitutional right in a civilized, well equipped and progressive society, then shouldn’t we consider it at least a basic human right? What is our collective responsiblity to the youths of this country?

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Categories: Misc.

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