When the Bar is Set Too High

Wed, 08/05/2015 - 23:23 -- mms2012

We say that education is a right...

Yet there remains an inequality


If parents can afford to send their child to private school..

They are already at a higher level


Than those who are taught in inner-city public schools

with textbooks that are falling apart..

if there are even books at all

and lockdowns in the middle of English class

because there are seven gangs in the middle school

and students whose stomachs are rumbling

in the middle of history lessons

because their mommas spend all their money on drugs

and their daddys are in jail 

so there ain't nobody around to feed them dinner

and there's no such thing as homework

because they spend all evening 

listening to gunshots and street fights

lying on the floors of the apartments their families can barely afford

praying that their step-dad don't come home tonight

because they can still feel the pain of the broken ribs

and still feel the crusted-up corner of their right eye

where he took out his anger on the world 


Or the kids in the little country schoolhouse

Who can't afford school supplies 

and come in every morning

to a building that has fallen apart a little more

and they can't always make it to school on time

because the tractors are on the road

and the strongest boys have to help in the fields

and they spend their weekends baling hay and milking cows

and they get a special holiday from school during hunting season

but they have lessons and classes that are considered advanced

when in reality, they can't compare to such classes in "upper-class" society


so hardly anybody goes to college 

and if they do, their dreams are quickly shattered

when they realize they don't stack up 

with the rest of the students in their jumbo-sized lecture hall

and they are "weeded out" of classes that should be easy

and they lose their scholarships and their hopes for a future


Tell me...

please tell me - 

Why, in a country that prides itself on education, 

that boasts that we have equal rights, 

that promises that we are all, in fact, free -

why are we allowing the people that make up

most of our country's population

to fall beneath those who live in Suburbia

and whose parents hand them their opportunities, 

who have never worked a real job in their life,

have never known the pain of an empty belly,

or the chill of an unheated schoolroom - why

are we charging a pretty penny for education

that should be availbale to anyone who wants it,

to anyone who will work for it ? 

Why are we raising the bar 

and watching the working class

and the lower-middle class 

fall on their faces 

trying to reach the stars ?


This poem is about: 
My community
My country
Our world


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