The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Anger in city schools

Oct 25, 2004

More than 40 fires have been set in Baltimore area schools in the last two months since school opened, including five on October 21. Last week, there was also a shooting. Twice recently security guards used Mace to break up student fights and at least one student is recovering from injuries in a bus incident. Both adults and students have expressed concern that the schools are out of control.

Yes, they are out of control, but in ways that go way beyond these incidents.

To put it clearly: the Baltimore City school system does not do what it is supposed to do, educate the working class youth of Baltimore.

The Baltimore City schools, blaming it on repeated budget crises, have too few teachers, too few supplies, old text books that students cannot even take home. Young people get an inferior education in old, falling apart buildings. Their results on tests are the worst in Maryland.

The school incidents reflect how many young people are angry in these holding pens called schools. They can feel that education is far down on the list of priorities for the city's politicians and big-wigs.

It's right there in front of the students – the ostentatious display of wealth in the Baltimore area, reflected by ever more buildings going up downtown along the Inner Harbor. There are expensive condos, multi-million dollar penthouse apartments, marinas filled with pleasure boats, a Westside arts center and two new stadiums. Everything – except real sums of money for city schools. Government officials and the heads of big companies have other priorities.

The future proposed to poor and working class youth in this society is bleak. And they know it.