Martin Luther King Jr. on ghetto schools

At the heart of the northern educational problem is the ghetto school, which with each passing day casts more children upon the human slag-heap, leading to increased frustration, and thereby increasing more impediments to any solution. This is a continuous on-going process. It is so complex that many run from it because the enormity of it overwhelms them. But let us perhaps see it as a gigantic forest fire whose flames destroy at the center and spread at the periphery. The tendency is to flee from forest fire, but one knows that such flight will not halt the spread of disaster and destruction.

MLK Jr Quote Exclusive to Cloaking Inequity


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  • Monty J. Thornburg, Ph.D.

    King’s metaphor of a gigantic forest fire seems true! These last three days I have watched from my school room window at the “Rim Fire” in CA. Even the most competent with the best equipment have little control, and I wonder about this metaphor.
    I also read L.G. Aguilera’s account of “The Chicago Pubic Schools: Allergic to parent, student, teacher, union, and citizen activism (part 2). It was attached on this blog to Michelle Obama’s comment.
    It’s all very discouraging. There is so much blame to go around and too few solutions; or mega ones anyway. I have my list of mega power brokers to blame too. Does it matter?
    Even in dangerous waters one can sometimes find a ship or an island that is safe; even thriving. That right school for my kids.
    I think the enormity of the problem leaves students and parents with little choice but to search for islands- not big solutions-and to work the system. Their first job is to find a decent education for those most loved; their own.
    The broad egalitarian notion, -perhaps always a myth- of equal educational opportunity seems over. That’s how I’m feeling at this moment anyway.


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