How long can a community stand by and watch tens of thousands of children being condemned to a life of poverty? Forty years and counting — at least in Detroit.
That conclusion could be drawn from August’s ASBJ cover story, “Summer of Fate,” which examines the 1967 riots that ripped through Detroit. I examined the political, economic, and racial factors that fed the riots and continue to shackle the city’s academically and financially struggling school system.
As the article makes clear, poverty and its accompanying social ills pose huge obstacles to student learning. Meanwhile, school officials are hampered by limited resources in an economically troubled city.
What the article doesn’t do is convey the outrage that should accompany this reality. Year after year for two generations, academic failure has been the status quo. In a nation as wealthy as ours, with the values we hold, this situation should be intolerable and viewed as a crisis — an overused, but applicable term in this case.
It might appear that Detroit is being singled out. But we all know stories of similar tragedies. Poverty is everywhere, and yet we go to bed each night without losing sleep over the academic failure of so many children.
So, where is our outrage?
Del Stover, Senior Editor