From Washington, Amina reflects on President Obama's back-to-school messaging:
There was lots of pep and encouragement for students in Obama’s address to the nation’s students. His “you can do it!” message is an odd overlay to the reality of education today, particularly for students of color. “This is a country that gives all its daughters and all its sons a fair chance. A chance to make the most of their lives. A chance to fulfill their God-given potential”, remarked the President. As the graduation rate for Black and Latino youth hovers around 50% (or lower!) the words sound hollow at best. The words are a direct contradiction to the schools many students will meet this fall. Yet, I guess there’s nothing peppy about telling students that we’ve simply failed many of them. There's no positive note to telling children that they’re entering schools with almost unbearable budget shortages. California school districts are shortening their school calendar year to save money. In Obama’s own Chicago schools they cut 200 school buses, giving students longer journeys to school. Although the President's address may not recognize it, many students returning to school can’t help but see the contradiction in his encouragement and their reality.