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Not enough desks

Not enough desks

Our daughter taught in the Memphis Public Schools for three years. The first two years were on assignment from Teach for America, and for the third year she was hired by a large high school to teach English to 12th graders. So she spent part of the summer preparing to educate seniors. Except that it didn't happen. Two days before she was to begin the year she was told she would be teaching 11th graders instead. Oh well. And on the first day of school, 40 kids showed up in several of her classes, which had desks for 24. Apparently Memphis overassigned kids to classes, especially in the upper grades, because they figure that the attrition rate (which they counted on -- meaning that a goodly percentage of kids would stop attending school) would bring the class down to the number of desks in the class.

So our daughter, and countless numbers of teachers like her, had to take an unworkable system and make it workable. Not a task for the faint of heart.

In this time of economic downturn -- which for so many feels more like an economic freefall, the thin resources deployed to places like our daughter's former school, are thinning out. If the middle class is hving to cope with barer cupboards, imagine the situation for those who have bare cupboards to begin with?

Jonathan Kozol's writing -- indeed his life's passion, is to build bridges between those whose prospects have usually been promising and those whose prospects have long been truncated. Jesus had a lot to say about this as well.

We find ourselves spiritually isolated if we live only on one side of the bridge.

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