"In America, Before We Notice Things, Things Have To Become Bad.”

Here's another delicious article (I really hope you guys are eating up these platters I keep serving you) on Ed Burns and his work on The Wire and his upcoming project Generation Kill. Burns after retiring from the police force became a public school teacher in Baltimore for 4 years. Burns in an HBO interview describes the difficulty public school teachers face today:

"Their needs are so phenomenal on the educational level. And then, as you get to know them, you realize that that is just the crust on the cake. Kids are seeing people killed in front of them. In the first year I was teaching, there were 120 kids in our group; thirteen had been shot. This was in seventh grade. Lots had been stabbed. All of them had been abused, one way or the other. So when you put them in a classroom with a curriculum that doesn't compute with their world, everybody has a way of surviving, right?

You have the small boy who becomes a doll for the girls, they're playing with his hair. Other kids are reading magazines, drawing on their desks. Kids are spitting sunflower seeds on the floor. Other kids are drinking vodka from what you thought was a water bottle. And the noise level makes it very difficult for anything to progress."

On HBO this month is a wonderful documentary Hard Times at Douglass High (a Baltimore school) which takes an inside look at one of the toughest schools in the country. Never before has real life made its way into the classroom than today. The classroom is a reflection of what is happening outside the classroom on the streets and at home. In some instances the "Man, fuck school" attitude seems to make a whole lot of sense. How much is actually being learned in class? I had one of the best educations one can get and I have always said that I learned more on the construction site from the men I worked with who had sold drugs all their life, killed people, spent most of their life in prison or who broke their back everyday making an honest life as a laborer just to feed their family than I ever did at school. So it makes sense for a kid to drop out and focus on learning and studying his environment on the streets than at school where there are barely enough books, supplies and resources funded by the state to go around and in a city (Bmore) where there is a teacher shortage so you have uncertified teachers going at it. Hmmmm. Our public school system is one of the biggest jokes our government has played on us. And there is a loud deep from that overfed politician belly laugh that rumbles through every school's hallway like a ghost after the bell rings.