Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day and Urban Education

Memorial Day is a day reserved for those of fortunate to be among the living to remember all the fallen heroes. In addition to serving as a day off from work and school, and a grace day useful to nurse a hangover, Memorial Day allows us to reflect and honor all of those who died in war, specifically but not limited to the Civil War. When I ask myself how Memorial Day and urban education are related, I cannot help but transform the association to relate urban centers and war with one another. Urban centers are often very significantly affected by war, as they often disproportionately serve as sources for soldiers. Many inner cities have pockets of poverty, leading the inner city populations with fewer opportunities than other populations.
When people are removed from a community and enlist or are drafted into military service, their community is losing resources: families are without mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Communities are losing workers, patrons, coaches, and taxpayers. The strength of the community, the networks, social ties, and communal institutions are negatively affected. The schools are affected as well. When resources leave a community, the community loses wealth, and human capital. The community loses parents to help with homework, and motivate their children. The community loses members that might have attended college, and returned to the community to acquire high-paying jobs. There are many ways in which one person can positively contribute to his or her community, and strong, healthy communities tend to have stronger, better education systems. It is a cyclic phenomenon, meaning better education systems ultimately build stronger local communities. Historically, war has siphoned resources from urban areas, weakening urban communities, and both directly and indirectly affecting urban education.

No comments: